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. Regions with cities commonly ranked in the top 50 include Australia, New Zealand, North America, Northern Europe, and Western Europe. 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. Livability rankings may be used by employers assigning hardship allowances as part of job relocation.
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 and environment, education and infrastructure.
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. 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 ranked first.
The EIU also publishes a Worldwide Cost of Living Survey that compares the cost of living in a range of global cities.
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. For nine consecutive years (2009–2017), Mercer ranked Austria's capital Vienna first in its annual "Quality of Living" survey, a title the city still held in 2016.
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 2018 Monocle Survey determined the world's most livable city was Munich, followed by Tokyo, Vienna and Zurich. A total of four German cities were on the list of the 25 most livable cities, 15 out of the 25 were European, 3 each from Japan and Australia, and one from North America (Vancouver). No cities from South America, South Asia, or Africa made it into the list.
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