Best Cities To Live

Late last year, I blogged about Tokyo topping the Michelin Restaurant Guide.  3 global surveys on the best cities to live were just recently published.  Obviously, we each have our own personal favorite city to live in and we are certainly free to agree or disagree with these rankings.  Which do you think is the best city to live in?


The Mercer Consulting Quality of Living ranking covers 215 cities, using data collected between September to November 2008, evaluating local living conditions in cities it surveys worldwide.  Living conditions are analyzed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories such as political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, health and sanitation,education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, natural environment.

In 2009, Vienna, Zurich and Geneva topped the list, with Vancouver and Auckland rounding out the top 5.  Tokyo was ranked 35.  Toronto was ranked 15.  Compared to 2008, there did not seem to be any significant changes.  There were many European cities (except for cities in the UK and France) in the top 20, along with a few cities in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Singapore was the top Asian city at 26 (Tokyo was second) while Honolulu was the highest ranking US city at 29.

Asia fared better in the cities offering the best infrastructure, with Singapore topping the list and Tokyo coming in at 12.


Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Liveability Ranking covers 140 cities worldwide by assigning a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, infrastructure.

In 2009, 6 Canadian and Australian cities ranked in top 10, with Vancouver, Vienna, Melbourne, Toronto and Perth in the top 5.  I couldn’t tell where Tokyo was ranked unless I bought the report for US$250 – I passed.



The Monocle Liveability Ranking is the newest survey but is similar to Mercer and EIU.  Covering only a short list of 40 cities, “in addition to looking at obvious cut-and-dried statistics such as average salaries, school performance and healthcare costs … the network of researchers to consider softer issues – physical and technological connectivity, tolerance, the strength of local media and culture and, of course, late-night eating and entertainment options.”

In 2009, Zurich was ranked 1 (was ranked 4 in 2008) with Copenhagen, Tokyo, Munich and Helsinki rounding out the top 5.   There were several European, Australian and Canadian cities in the top 25, with 3 Japanese cities (Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukuoka).  Honolulu was the top US city at 11.


6 thoughts on “Best Cities To Live

  1. Pingback: Expedia’s Best and Worse Tourists « Konnichiwa

    • Yes, I am following CNN here in Tokyo about this story … with LA spending another $1.5M for Michael Jackson’s recent memorial at Staples Center and of course your famous governator, Arnold S. – he’ll be back 🙂

  2. Pingback: Mercer’s 2009 Cost of Living Survey « Konnichiwa

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