By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — According to a new survey, Minneapolis is increasingly among the world’s most livable cities, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Economist’s Global Livability Index for 2021 listed the City of Lakes as the 36th most livable city in the world, up 19 spots since last year.

The annual index from the London-based intelligence service ranks the livability of 140 cities across the globe, focusing on five areas: stability, healthcare, education, culture and the environment.

The top spot in this year’s index went to Auckland, New Zealand, which didn’t have to close its theaters or restaurants because it closed its borders, thereby keeping COVID-19 out of the country. Six of the other top 10 cities on the index were in New Zealand or Australia, which also imposed an international travel ban at the start of the pandemic.

Overall, the global livability average dropped slightly, with notable declines in healthcare and culture due to the affects of the pandemic on institutions. Many central European and Canadian cities saw their scores fall.

In the U.S., however, the scores for many cities increased, largely due to how they handled the pandemic and the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. The highest rated American city was Honolulu, which came in at No. 14, up 46 places.

The lowest rated cities on the list did not change much amid the pandemic, as they were already ravaged by war and instability. Damascus, the Syrian capital, was again listed as the least livable city in the world.