Quality of life in cities: Europe at three speeds

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The north and the west lead, The east grows while the south, once again, struggles. It is Europe, at three speeds, described by the 2023 EU Report on the quality of life in cities. The survey, which involves a sample of 71,153 people in 83 cities, highlights the gap between the north and the south and highlights the “turning point” that has characterized the member states of Eastern Europe in the last five years. The analysis shows trust in the large centers but also less loneliness and more security in the smaller ones. Young adults are more likely (15%) to feel lonely than middle-aged and older people (12% and 11% respectively). Services can help: Easy access to cultural facilities and green spaces is associated with a reduction in loneliness.

The divide between north and south

Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, underlines that there is “still a gap between North and South with a lower level of satisfaction reported in the South”. «Conveniences and opportunities do not arise by chance: intelligent efforts by European cities are fundamental. And European cohesion policy supports them, as part of our mission to ensure that no space is left behind.” Overall, the main cities of the European Union are those in which citizens’ satisfaction is greatest. In this ranking, the Danish capital Copenhagen and Groningen in the Netherlands are in first place with 96% of people satisfied and Gdansk in Poland is in third place with a percentage of 95%.

In the cities of Eastern European member states, citizens talk about an increase in the quality of life in the last five years with better services, air quality, more safety and jobs. These are Białystok (62%), Gdańsk (60%), and Cluj-Napoca (59%).



The Italian framework

Within this scenario, there is then the Italian piece in which the north and south divide is also repeated to a lesser extent, with the worst data, precisely in the cities of the South. The black jersey, among the six cities considered (Palermo , Naples, Rome, Bologna, Verona and Turin) goes to the Sicilian capital. Scrolling through the various sheets that accompany the report we discover that, just to give an example, Palermo is in last place, with 62%, in the percentage of “people satisfied with living in their city”, worse than Athens and Istanbul which they travel with 65%. Zurich is in first place with 97% followed by Copenhagen with 96%.

Only 3% of people interviewed say that the quality of life in Rome has improved in the last five years. Low data also in Bologna which took home the third last place with a percentage of 13%. Insights on quality of life in Italy are available in the survey of Sun 24 Hours now in its 34th edition.

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