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Pittsburgh Gains another Top Accolade

By Anya Sostek | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | August 26, 2014
Is this ranking the one for the thumb?

Pittsburgh has racked up yet another accolade, with the designation as the “most livable city” in the continental U.S., according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2014 livability survey.

Only Honolulu outperformed Pittsburgh among U.S. cities in the study, which measured “which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.” Pittsburgh was tops in the country in the 2009 iteration of the study.

Pittsburgh was named “America’s Most Livable City” by Forbes magazine in 2010 and was named one of the “Best All-American Vacations” earlier this year by The Travel Channel, among other positive rankings.

In the 2014 Economist study, Pittsburgh ranks 30th in the world among 140 cities in the study and Honolulu ranks 26th. The top-ranking city in the world is Melbourne, Australia, and the bottom-ranking city is Damascus, Syria.

The other cities in the top five are Vienna, Austria; Vancouver, Canada; Toronto, Canada; and Adelaide, Australia.

The report notes that — like Pittsburgh — cities performing well “tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with relatively low population density.” It noted that cities with a “big city buzz,” such as New York, London and Paris, can suffer from higher crime and overstretched infrastructure.

Cities were given a score between 1 and 100 in five categories — stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure — with 100 considered “ideal.” Pittsburgh received 100s in education and infrastructure, an 85 in stability, a 92 in health care and a 91 in culture and environment. The factors that go into the stability category generally relate to the prevalence of crime and unrest.

“It’s great to celebrate the accolades that were made possible through the spirit of innovation here, fueled by the passion of Pittsburgh residents and decision makers,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. “There’s been a conscious effort to invest in the arts, culture and the environment as an economic development strategy. And that has paid off nicely.”

The Economist Intelligence Unit is an independent business affiliated with The Economist magazine.