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It's not you, it's us: Time Out City Index reveals Sydney is one of the least-fun places to live

Alyx Gorman
Written by
Alyx Gorman

What makes a city a brilliant place to live? Is it friendly locals? An inspiring cultural scene? Affordability? Yes, yes and sort of. The bad news is, Sydneysiders don't feel like we've got any of those things going on at the moment. We're drunk, horny and miserable.

In the first Time Out Global City Index survey, we polled over 20,000 people, from 18 different cities around the world. We asked them 81 questions, ranging from how safe they feel in their city to how often they see live music. Then, we assessed all the answers, based on the following six factors:

• Dynamism – how vibrant and exciting life there feels.
• Inspiration – whether the city feels like a pleasant or difficult place to live.
• Food & Drink – if the city is somewhere you can eat well (and not too expensively!).
• Community – whether local neighbourhoods were rated highly.
• Sociability – and whether the city felt welcoming or isolating.
• Affordability – whether people could generally get by OK.

The results in Sydney, we're sorry to say, are not looking good. Of the 18 cities surveyed, Sydney came in at number 16 on the Index. Only Dubai and Kuala Lumpur residents have less fun than we do. 

Don't think this is because Australians are generally miserable, though. Melbourne, those smug fucks, came in at number two on the city index. Only Chicagoans have more fun.

So, why aren't Sydneysiders happy with their lot in life? Could it be the lockout laws? Maybe. Only ten per cent of people surveyed strongly agreed 'there's always something fun to do in Sydney' (in Melbourne it was 46 per cent). What about our lack of arts funding? Melbournians were five per cent more likely to have visited an art gallery than Sydney in the past month. 

Perhaps the biggest factor was dynamism. In Melbourne, 62 per cent of people believed 'there's always something new to do'. In Sydney, it was a measly 22 per cent. In fact, of all the cities surveyed, Sydney was rated the absolute least dynamic and the least sociable. 

On the 'community' front, we fared better. Inner East,  Eastern Beaches and Inner West residents agreed strongly or somewhat that they 'love living in my neighbourhood' at 96 per cent, 95 per cent and 94 per cent respectively. The people who loved their neighbourhoods the most however, were those living around Darling Point, Point Piper and Double Bay (go figure): 97 per cent of them love their neighbourhoods. The story wasn't so rosy in the Western Suburbs, where only 67 per cent of those surveyed somewhat or strongly agreed they love their suburb. 

So, what did Sydney top the list for? Well, it turns out going hard and going home with each other are our specialities. Sydney is the one of the world's top cities for hangovers (looks like that bedtime curfew isn't working). We're also the number one city for one night stands, and near the very top for affairs with co-workers. Oh, and nine per cent of us have had sex with more than one person at once. Which is a way larger number than Melbourne, where only one per cent of people are down with group sex. Shame none of it is making us happy. Bummer.

Want more to know more about the Global City Index?

Here's the whole index.

Here's what makes a city great (and what doesn't). 

Here's why Chicago topped the Cities Index.

And here's where you can find more City Index results, as we crunch the numbers.

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