World's most liveable cities

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The world's most liveable cities is an informal name given to any list of cities as they rank on an annual survey of living conditions. Countries that have cities commonly ranked within the top ten, almost always include Austria, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and Canada. Three examples of the surveys are Monocle's "Most Liveable Cities Index", the Economist Intelligence Unit's "Liveability Ranking and Overview", and "Mercer Quality of Living Survey". Liveability rankings are designed for use by employers assigning hardship allowances as part of job relocation. There have been numerous arguments over the expansion of liveability rankings for other purposes. However, the annual city rankings attract extensive media coverage, and are a popular topic of discussion. However, the rankings are not used for economic forecasting or government policy. [1] The OECD Better Life Index however, factors in socio-economic comparisons of the livability of cities across the world.[2]

Monocle's Quality of Life Survey[edit]

Monocle's Quality of Life Survey 2014[3]
1Copenhagen Denmark
2Tokyo Japan
3Melbourne Australia
4Stockholm Sweden
5Helsinki Finland
6Vienna Austria
7Zürich Switzerland
8Munich Germany
9Kyoto Japan
10Fukuoka Japan
11Sydney Australia
12Auckland New Zealand
13Hong Kong Hong Kong
14Berlin Germany
15Vancouver Canada
16Singapore Singapore
17Madrid Spain
18Paris France
19Amsterdam Netherlands
20Hamburg Germany
21Barcelona Spain
22Lisbon Portugal
23Portland USA
24Oslo Norway
25Brisbane Australia
Copenhagen, Denmark

Since 2006, the lifestyle magazine Monocle has published an annual list of liveable cities. The list in 2008 was named "The Most Liveable Cities Index" and presented 25 top locations for quality of life.

Important criteria in this survey are safety/crime, international connectivity, climate/sunshine, quality of architecture, public transportation, tolerance, environmental issues and access to nature, urban design, business conditions, pro-active policy developments and medical care.

The EIU's Global Liveability Ranking[edit]

The EIU's Global Liveability Ranking August 2014
CityCountryOverall rating[4]
1Melbourne Australia97.7
2Vienna Austria97.4
3Vancouver Canada97.3
4Toronto Canada97.2
5Adelaide Australia96.6
5Calgary Canada96.6
7Sydney Australia96.1
8Helsinki Finland96.0
9Perth Australia95.9
10Auckland New Zealand95.7
11Zurich Switzerland
12Geneva Switzerland
13Osaka Japan
14Hamburg Germany
15Stockholm Sweden
16Montreal Canada
17Paris France
18Frankfurt Germany
19Tokyo Japan
20Brisbane Australia
Melbourne, Australia was ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the World's most liveable city since 2011.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) most recent liveability ranking shows cities in Australia, Canada, Austria, Finland and New Zealand as the ideal destinations, thanks to a widespread availability of goods and services, low personal risk, and an effective infrastructure. It does not take into account the cost of living as a factor in 'liveability'. The Economist Intelligence Unit has been criticised by the New York Times for being overly anglocentric, stating that "The Economist clearly equates livability with speaking English."[5]  The August 2014 report placed Melbourne, Australia as the most liveable city in the world, with Vienna, Austria taking second place, followed by Vancouver, Canada. Other Australian cities also ranked highly in the survey, with Adelaide continuing to hold equal 5th position (in company with Calgary in Canada). Sydney was at 7th position and Perth at 9th. A third Canadian city, Toronto was among the top ten, holding the 4th spot. Toronto is the largest city by population among the top ten cities, with nearly six million inhabitants within its metropolitan area. The Top 10 ranking order remains unchanged compared with 2012.[6] Although Asian cities do not appear in the top 10, Osaka (Osaka Prefecture), Japan is ranked as Asia's most liveable city. At the bottom end of the scale, the 2013 report lists Damascus (Syria) as worst, followed by Tehran (Iran), Douala (Cameroon), Tripoli (Libya), Karachi (Pakistan), Algiers (Algeria), Harare (Zimbabwe), Lagos (Nigeria), Port Moresby (Papua New Guinea) and Dhaka (Bangladesh).

Mercer Quality of Living Survey[edit]

Mercer's Quality of Living 2014[7]
1Vienna Austria
2Zürich Switzerland

Munich Germany
5Vancouver Canada
6Düsseldorf Germany
7Frankfurt Germany
8Geneva Switzerland
9Copenhagen Denmark
10Bern Switzerland
Vienna, Austria

American global human resource and related financial services consulting firm Mercer releases annually the Quality of Living Survey, comparing 221 cities based on 39 criteria. New York City is given a baseline score of 100 and other cities are rated in comparison. Important criteria are safety, education, hygiene, health care, culture, environment, recreation, political-economic stability and public transportation.

The list helps multi-national companies decide where to open offices or plants, and how much to pay employees.

OECD Better Life Index[edit]

OECD Better life Index 2014[8]
1Canberra Australia
Canberra, Australia

The OECD’s Better Life Initiative was launched in May 2011 following a decade of work attempting to bring together internationally comparable measures of well-being in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress also known as the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission. The recommendations made by this Commission sought to address concerns that standard macroeconomic statistics like GDP failed to give a true account of people’s current and future well-being.[9] The OECD Better Life Initiative includes two main elements: "Your Better Life Index" and "How’s Life?"

Your Better Life Index (BLI),[10] launched in May 2011, is an interactive tool that allows people to compare countries’ performances according to their own preferences in terms of what makes for a better life. First published on 24 May 2011, it includes 11 "dimensions" of well-being[11] Each topic is built using one to three specific indicators. In the case of work-life balance, for example, three separate measures are considered: the number of employees working long hours; the percentage of working mothers; and the time people devote to leisure and personal activities. The BLI seeks to engage citizens in the discussion of what matters most in their lives and what governments should do to improve well-being.

Canberra, Australia has been ranked as the world's most livable city according to the OECD better life index for the second consecutive year, based on results published on 6 October 2014.[12][13][14]

See also[edit]