The people living in Europe’s cities have great differences in life satisfaction – from the happiness seen in Scandinavia to the dissatisfaction felt in the South-East
European cities have some of the highest levels for quality of life in the world, but the continent has significant divides in its population’s satisfaction.
While most urban Europeans say they are satisfied with where they live, those in Greece, Turkey and Italy are most unhappy, according to a survey conducted for the European Commission.
Nordic people are the happiest with the cities they live in, with all eight Nordic cities in the survey ranking within the top 15 for life satisfaction.
The survey asked 40,000 Europeans in 79 cities how satisfied they are with issues such as health services, transportation, safety, pollution and immigration.
In all but six of the cities, at least four out of five respondents said they are satisfied to live in their city.
Those with the lowest satisfaction were Istanbul, Palermo and the City of Athens.
Some 99 per cent of people in Oslo and Zurich are satisfied, while Aalborg, Vilnius and Belfast had the next highest levels of satisfaction.
Most and least satisfied cities in Europe
Compared to the last survey in 2012, Athens has documented the largest increase in satisfaction, with a 15 percentage point increase.
Istanbul, on the other hand, has seen its cities’ satisfaction drop by 14 percentage points over three years.
“Finding good housing at a reasonable price is perceived as a challenge by a majority of respondents” Corina Cretu, European Commission.
n London, nine out of ten respondents said they were satisfied with the city – a lower rate than Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.
The report said that satisfaction with the place where people live correlates with a feeling of safety in the city.
While three quarters of those in most of the European cities said they felt safe, barely half of Romans agreed – with similar levels seen in Marseille, Istanbul and Greater Athens.
Just 47 per cent of Romans trusted their fellow city dwellers, compared to 69 per cent of Londonders.
Jobs were another key indicator for people’s life satisfaction. In only 14 cities did a majority of respondents say that it is easy to find a job – with the highest number of people agreeing in Prague, Cluj Napoca and Munchen.
German cities were among the happiest in Europe
Health services, unemployment and education and training are perceived as the most important issues for their city.
Ranking above safety, housing and air pollution, these issues were the ones that citydwellers were most concerned about – with health services being the top issue in 27 cities, unemployment in 23 cities and education in 18/
Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, said in the report: “Some findings give a positive picture of our European cities and demonstrate improvements.
“For example, in Budapest and in Kraków, there has been an increase of 20 per cent of those who have a positive perception of public transport in their city, compared to 2012.”
However, she added: “Other findings point to ongoing problems. For example, finding good housing at a reasonable price is perceived as a challenge by a majority of respondents, and this difficulty is perceived as particularly severe in capitals. In only one city out of five people agree that it is easy to find a job in their city.”
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