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Most livable cities

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The world's most livable cities is an informal name given to any list of cities as they rank on an annual survey of living conditions. In addition to providing clean water, clean air, adequate food and shelter, a ‘livable’ city must also generate a sense of community and offer hospitable settings for all, especially young people, to develop social skills, a sense of autonomy and identity.[1]

Regions with cities commonly ranked in the top 50 include Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Europe.[2] Three examples of such surveys are Monocle's "Most Liveable Cities Index", the Economist Intelligence Unit's "Global Liveability Ranking", and "Mercer Quality of Living Survey". Numbeo has the largest statistics and survey data based on cities and countries.[3] Deutsche Bank's Liveability Survey is another ranking of cities by quality of life.

The EIU's Global Liveability Ranking

Vienna has been top-ranked by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey since 2009 and has topped the EIU Ranking since 2018.
Melbourne was ranked by the EIU as the world's most liveable city for seven years in a row, from 2011 until 2017.
Sydney was ranked as the world's third most liveable city in 2019, making it the second Australian city in the top five. Australia and Canada are the only two countries to have more than two cities in the top ten.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) publishes an annual Global Liveability Ranking, which ranks 140 cities for their urban quality of life based on assessments of their stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.[4]

Melbourne, Australia, had been ranked by the EIU as the world's most livable city for seven years in a row, from 2011 to 2017.[5] Between 2004 and 2010, Vancouver, Canada, was ranked the EIU's most livable city, with Melbourne sharing first place in the inaugural 2002 report. Vancouver has ranked third since 2015, while Vienna, Austria, ranked second until 2018 when it climbed to the top spot.

The Syrian capital, Damascus, was ranked the least livable city of the 140 assessed in 2021.[6]

The EIU also publishes a Worldwide Cost of Living Survey that compares the cost of living in a range of global cities.[7]

EIU's Global Liveability Ranking 2021[6][8]
City Country/Region
1 Auckland  New Zealand
2 Osaka  Japan
3 Adelaide  Australia
4 Wellington  New Zealand
5 Tokyo  Japan
6 Perth  Australia
7 Zurich   Switzerland
8 Geneva   Switzerland
9 Melbourne  Australia
10 Brisbane  Australia

Mercer's Quality of Living Ranking

American global human resources and related financial services consulting firm Mercer annually releases its Mercer 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, public transport and access to goods and services. The list is intended to help multinational companies decide where to open offices or plants, and how much to pay employees. Mercer has ranked Austria's capital Vienna first in its annual "Quality of Living" survey since 2009.

Mercer's Quality of Living Ranking 2019[9]
City Country/Region
1 Vienna  Austria
2 Zürich   Switzerland
3 Vancouver  Canada
3 Munich  Germany
3 Auckland  New Zealand
6 Düsseldorf  Germany
7 Frankfurt  Germany
8 Copenhagen  Denmark
9 Geneva   Switzerland
10 Basel   Switzerland
11 Sydney  Australia
11 Amsterdam  Netherlands
13 Berlin  Germany
14 Bern   Switzerland
15 Wellington  New Zealand
16 Toronto  Canada
17 Melbourne  Australia
18 Singapore  Singapore
19 Ottawa  Canada
19 Hamburg  Germany
21 Perth  Australia
21 Montréal  Canada
23 Nuremberg  Germany
23 Stockholm  Sweden
25 Oslo  Norway
25 Luxembourg City  Luxembourg
27 Stuttgart  Germany
28 Brussels  Belgium
29 Adelaide  Australia
30 Canberra  Australia
31 Helsinki  Finland
32 Calgary  Canada
33 Dublin  Ireland
34 San Francisco  United States
35 Brisbane  Australia

The full ranking includes 231 cities.

Monocle's Quality of Life Survey

Zurich has been top ranked repeatedly by the Mercer, Monocle and Deutsche Bank liveability surveys.

Since 2006, the lifestyle magazine Monocle has published an annual list of livable 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 transport, tolerance, environmental issues and access to nature, urban design, business conditions, pro-active policy developments and medical care.

The 2019 Monocle Survey determined the world's most livable city was Zurich, followed by Tokyo, Munich and Copenhagen.[10]

Monocle's Quality of Life Survey 2019[10]
City Country/Region
1 Zürich   Switzerland
2 Tokyo  Japan
3 Munich  Germany
4 Copenhagen  Denmark
5 Vienna  Austria
6 Helsinki  Finland
7 Hamburg  Germany
8 Madrid  Spain
9 Berlin  Germany
10 Lisbon  Portugal
11 Melbourne  Australia
12 Stockholm  Sweden
13 Sydney  Australia
14 Amsterdam  Netherlands
15 Vancouver  Canada
16 Hong Kong  Hong Kong
17 Kyoto  Japan
18 Barcelona  Spain
19 Paris  France
20 Düsseldorf  Germany
21 Auckland  New Zealand
22 Fukuoka  Japan
23 Brisbane  Australia
24 Oslo  Norway
25 Singapore  Singapore

Deutsche Bank Liveability Survey

The 2019 survey showed the following cities to be highest in quality of life, for numerous reasons[11] (e.g. style, affordability, happiness and pollution etc.):

Wellington, like Melbourne, has also been ranked as the most liveable city by Deutsche Bank twice in a row, and also has the least pollution of any ranked city.
Cities with the highest quality of life 2019[11]
City Country/Region
1 Zürich   Switzerland
2 Wellington  New Zealand
3 Copenhagen  Denmark
4 Edinburgh  United Kingdom
5 Vienna  Austria
6 Helsinki  Finland
7 Melbourne  Australia
8 Boston  United States
9 San Francisco  United States
10 Sydney  Australia

Global Finance's World's Best Cities to Live

  • The World's Best Cities to Live In 2020[12]
    City Country/Region
    1 Tokyo  Japan
    2 London  United Kingdom
    3 Singapore  Singapore
    4 New York  United States
    5 Melbourne  Australia
    6 Frankfurt  Germany
    7 Paris  France
    8 Seoul  South Korea
    9 Berlin  Germany
    10 Sydney  Australia
  • The World's Best Cities to Live In 2017[13]
    City Country/Region
    1 Vienna  Austria
    2 Vancouver  Canada
    3 Munich  Germany
    4 Melbourne  Australia
    5 Copenhagen  Denmark
    6 Zürich   Switzerland
    7 Berlin  Germany
    8 Sydney  Australia
    9 Auckland  New Zealand
    10 Düsseldorf  Germany
  • See also


    1. ^ Caves, R. W. (2004). Encyclopedia of the City. Routledge. p. 434. ISBN 9780415252256.
    2. ^ "2015 quality of living survey". Mercer. 4 March 2015.
    3. ^ "Cost of Living".
    4. ^ "Global Liveability Ranking 2016". Retrieved 12 April 2017.
    5. ^ Stephanie Chalkley-Rhoden (16 August 2017). "World's most liveable city: Melbourne takes top spot for the seventh year running". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
    6. ^ a b "Coronavirus: Auckland ranked most liveable city as pandemic shifts list". 9 June 2021 – via
    7. ^ "The Worldwide Cost of Living Survey". Retrieved 12 April 2017.
    8. ^ "The Global Liveability Index 2021" (PDF). The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2021.
    9. ^ Quality of living city ranking 2019 - Mercer
    10. ^ a b Quality of Life Survey: top 25 cities, 2019 Published: 21 June 2019
    11. ^ a b Taylor, Chloe (20 May 2019). "These cities offer the best quality of life in the world, according to Deutsche Bank". CNBC. Retrieved 23 June 2019.
    12. ^ "World's Best Cities To Live In 2020". Global Finance. 14 October 2020.
    13. ^ "The World's Best Cities to Live In 2017". Global Finance. 30 September 2017.