Asia Pacific is the world's millennial hub, home to a staggering 58% of the world's 20 ~ 38-year-old population. The region has evolved rapidly over recent years as its youthful generation moved into the workforce and reshaped the economy.
That shifting landscape has been a boon for many Asian cities, which have reinvented themselves to reflect 21st century living. However, others have struggled to accommodate millennials' mutual demands for suitable employment and affordable housing (and the occasional avocado toast).
So which cities are “Millennial Friendly”?
ValueChampion, a Singapore-based financial analysis site analyzed 20 of the region's major cities to find out which cities were “Millennial Friendly.”
Using data from The Economist, the World Economic Forum and the World Health Organization and others, ValueChampion’s staff measured each city according to three key metrics: Employment prospects; cost of living; and quality of life. It then averaged out each of the city's overall scores to establish its final ranking.
Here are the top-five cities that ValueChampion ranked best for millennials:
#5 – Melbourne, Australia
Restaurant and cafe goers in Melbourne’s Centre Place
With a longstanding reputation as one of the world's most livable cities, it's perhaps unsurprising that Melbourne emerged as one of ValueChampion's top five cities for millennials.
Australia's second largest city benefits from a vibrant arts scene, iconic sports stadiums and good proximity to the coast, granting it second place overall for quality of life. Meanwhile, its relative affordability — residents spend an estimated 20 percent of their income on rent — gave it a strong third place for cost of living.
Work prospects pulled the city down, however. With an above average unemployment rate of 5 percent, Melbourne fell into the lowest quartile for employment prospects, scoring a joint 18th place with Sydney and coming in just ahead of Jakarta, Indonesia.
#4 – Guangzhou, China
A night view of Guangzhou, China’s Central Business District
One of China's most populous cities, Guangzhou, secured a spot in the top five cities for millennials largely thanks to its low cost of living.
The mega-city scored top marks for affordability and ranked in joint first position alongside Seoul, South Korea. By the estimates of ValueChampion, the average resident spends a moderate 22% of their income on rent.
Guangzhou lagged behind on employment prospects and quality of life; however, coming in seventh and 11th place respectively, largely due to China's average unemployment rate and high pollution levels.
#3 – Hong Kong
Hong Kong skyline – seen from Kowloon
Despite its notoriously high cost of living, Hong Kong ranked third in this year's list, helped by strong work prospects and a thriving lifestyle scene there.
Noted as one of Asia's foremost economic hubs, the Chinese administrative district secured third place for employment prospects. Meanwhile, high life expectancy and plenty of entertainment options saw Hong Kong score a respectable sixth place for quality of life.
With residents spending an average of 31% of their income on rent, however, the city scored a mediocre ninth place for cost of living, putting it in line with the likes of Auckland, New Zealand.
#2 – Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo’s Shinjuku district at night
Striking a good balance on all three measures, Japan's capital, Tokyo, emerged as the second best city in Asia for millennials.
A bustling business district and a modest 2.5 percent unemployment rate saw the city score a respectable fifth place in terms of employment prospects. Elsewhere, low pollution and crime levels caused the city to score equally well for quality of life.
High living costs meant Tokyo to fell behind other cities, however. Though residents spend an estimated 27% of their income on rent — lower than the average, according to ValueChampion — those savings are typically quashed by high transport, grocery and entertainment costs.
#1 – Singapore
Singapore's skyline seen from the Gardens by the Bay
Topping the ranks in ValueChampion's study was the Southeast Asian nation of Singapore.
Despite its small size, the city-state punches above its weight economically, recording the highest GDP per capita ($58,000) of all cities studied. That, added to its low unemployment rate of just 2.2% t and an accommodative business environment, pushed Singapore to first place for employment prospects.
Meanwhile, Singapore's low levels of pollution, high safety levels, lively entertainment scene and local travel options meant it stole the top spot for quality of life too.
Those perks come at a cost, though. The city at the center of 2018's Hollywood blockbuster "Crazy Rich Asians" scored relatively poorly in terms of cost of living, emerging in seventh place, far behind the likes of Taipei, Taiwan.