[This is especially for my Australian family.]
From The Economist (behind a paywall):
AFTER a disappointing performance in the London Olympics, Australia should be cheered by a set of triumphs in a more testing environment: the Economist Intelligence Unit’s latest liveability ranking. For the second year in a row, Melbourne has been adjudged the world’s most liveable city, ahead of Vienna and Vancouver, whose slip from the top of the list last year, after almost a decade, riled many western Canadians. Three other Australian cities make it into the top ten, with Adelaide rising from ninth to equal fifth in 12 months.
The ranking scores 140 cities from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure. The cities at the top of the table are separated by tiny differences, with just 0.3 percentage points between first and fourth.
As has been clear for several years now, the cities that do best in this ranking are mid-sized conurbations in countries with low population densities. Such conditions are likely to result in low crime levels, functioning infrastructure and easily available recreational activities. Murder rates in Melbourne, Vienna and Vancouver, for example, were respectively 2.7, 1.1 and 2.5 per 100,000 people in 2010-11, compared with the American average of 4.8. Indeed American cities tend not to do as well as their Australian and Canadian counterparts because poor scores for crime and congestion negate their decent marks for culture. Honolulu, which is 26th on the list, is the best placed, though it should be noted that all American entries come in the top tier of 63 cities, for which HR managers are advised not to bother paying a hardship allowance.
Cities that have suffered unrest in the last year have seen their scores drop. Damascus moves from 117th place to 130th; and London and Manchester, the sites of riots last summer, fall nine and two places respectively to 51st and 55th. Dhaka remains in last place because of particularly poor scores for health care and infrastructure, though it would probably come above the likes of Baghdad and Kabul, which were not considered business centres.
Most liveable cities: 1. Melbourne 97.5 2. Vienna 97.4 3. Vancouver 97.3 4. Toronto 97.2 5=. Calgary 96.6 5=. Adelaide 96.6 7. Sydney 96.1 8. Helsinki 96.0 9. Perth 95.9 10. Auckland 95.7 … 138. Lagos 39.0 139. Port Moresby 38.9 140. Dhaka 38.7