We make decisions that affect our health every single day. Whether they’re related to food, sleep or exercise, these small choices shape the way we feel about ourselves. But there’s one key thing that we forget to consider: the city that we’re living in.
It's easier to stay healthy in a city with healthy social habits – places where clean air, fresh food and high-quality exercise facilities are valued. But it's much harder in cities with high levels of pollution, too many fast-food restaurants and not enough green space.
So what exactly is a healthy city? At Spotahome, we decided to find out. We created a healthy city index that scores over 80 locations across the world. Each city is ranked based on how well it performs across 10 distinct, health related factors. If you’re curious about our research process, please refer to the methodology.
Average Gym Rating
Annual Sunshine Hours
Life Expectancy at Birth
Obesity in Adults
Air and Water
Electric Car Charging Points
Each category consists of the latest data available from reputable sources, and is standardised using minmax normalisation:
This results in a score between 0 and 10 for each data point, and each country is ranked accordingly based on its overall average score.
The index is created using both city and country-level data. In the instance of country level data, the country score is applied to each city within it. For example, if France has a score of 8.42 for Life Expectancy at Birth, then Paris, Lyon and Marseille all receive 8.42.
In order to further refine the list, cities that are missing more than 1 data point (due to no data available) have been removed, leaving a list of 89 cities.
Looks at the average rating of up to 60 randomly selected gyms within a city centre.Google Places API
The average annual duration of sunshine in each city.
Local Government Sites / Weather Hubs
Looks at the amount of employees who work very long hours (more than 50 per week).OECD Better Life Index
Compares the average number of years that a newborn is expected to live, if current mortality rates remain constant.Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook
Vacation days are those considered as paid vacation, excluding legal holidays. A number of professions were surveyed and averaged for each city.UBS Global Cities Ranking 2018
Crowdsourced data on the quality of green space and parks within a city.Numbeo Pollution Index 2018
The number of outlets tagged as ‘fast food’ on TripAdvisor per 100,000 citizens in each city. A higher number of fast food outlets results in more accessibility and temptation.TripAdvisor
Looks at the prevalence of overweight adults (age 18+).World Health Organisation
Crowdsourced data looking at the overall pollution levels in a city, particularly for air and water.Numbeo Pollution Index 2018
The number of electric car charging points within a 5 mile radius of the city centre.Open Charge Map