The world’s healthiest cities in 2021

We can all agree that when you are looking to emigrate, finding a healthy environment is vital. But what the experts don’t see eye-to-eye on is exactly which are the healthiest cities in the world.

Over the years there have been a number of surveys all centring around the world’s healthiest cities and each differing widely on the best places to settle when emigrating – or even for visiting on holiday.

The most recent study comes from who looked at the healthiest places to live in the world in 2021. Halo Financial uncovers the findings of the study, so you can have a really healthy choice over which cities around the world provide the best health and wellbeing benefits.

Healthiest cities in 2021

Healthiest Cities in 2021

The healthiest cities in 2021 study from looked at a variety of factors across 166 countries when assessing which city in the world is the healthiest. Such factors include:

  • Life expectancy
  • Financial costs of maintaining a healthy lifestyle
  • Pollution
  • Obesity levels
  • Safety
  • Hours of sunlight

It’s important to note that the study did not take coronavirus cases into account when observing which cities were the healthiest.

Spain named healthiest country

Out of all the countries which were observed, Spain came out number one as the healthiest. The study attributes the Mediterranean diet, which is high in omega-3 and protein, as the main reason for the country’s number one ranking. Additionally, many people in Spain tend to walk rather than use public transport or cars where possible, which is another strong contributing factor for its healthy lifestyle.

USA is the unhealthiest country

The study named the United States as the world’s unhealthiest country with its high obesity levels, placing 153 out of 166 countries and is the main reason for lowered life expectancies. It was noted that a country’s relationship with food has a significant impact on health levels. In Spain, for example, meal times are seen as a chance to be sociable and build relationships and not just about consumption.

Most adults in the UK are overweight

The UK is also known for its unhealthy lifestyle as it’s reported that 64% of UK adults are overweight. The average adult in the UK is said to consume over 9.7 litres of alcohol each year, almost a litre over the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average.

Lack of natural sunlight also adds to the UK’s unhealthy lifestyle as the UK is known for spending extended periods of time indoors, which can contribute towards sleep deprivation and lack of vitamin D.

The healthiest city within the UK is Edinburgh but was not able to secure a place within the top 40.

Panoramic aerial view of Gran Via, main shopping street in Madrid, capital of Spain, Europe.

Top 3 world’s healthiest cities 2021

The following three cities were named as the healthiest cities in the world in the 2021 study:


Naturally, there are a number of Spanish cities within the list and Valencia came out as number one. The study notes the country’s love of nutritional dishes such as paella as being a key reason for good health. Valencia is also regarded as a leader in art and science, indicating that culture and education is a significant part of the Valencian lifestyle.

Valencia is known for its warm climate, encouraging residents to spend significant amounts of time outdoors, boosting vitamin D, needed for strong muscles.


The second Spanish city on the list, Madrid is known for its high standard of living and is home to two of the world’s most famous football clubs.


The capital of Portugal came out at number three, with its beautiful coastal climate and hilly landscape. Lisbon also fared well due to the healthy Mediterranean lifestyle.

Helsinki has least air pollution

Despite coming in 17th place overall, the Finnish city has come out on top for the city with the least amount of air pollution and is well ahead of its peers when it comes to helping the environment. Helsinki aims to become carbon neutral by 2035 and cease use of fossil fuels by 2029.

Great emphasis is placed on using electric vehicles in Helsinki in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint and is known for investing in renewable energy sources.

Crime rates within Helsinki are also incredibly low and it is considered to be one of the safest cities in the world. The city of Zurich in Switzerland is also known for its high levels of safety and low crime rates, placing it at number 10 on the list.

Japan has highest life expectancy

Currently, the oldest person in the world lives in Japan and is 117 years old. Similar to Spain, the people of Japan tend to walk more than the likes of the UK and are known to have smaller portion sizes at mealtimes.

Tokyo places number 7 on the list and is known for having freshly prepared food and low carbon emission, earning its place in the top ten.

See a full breakdown of the top 40 healthiest cities in the world .

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