National Geographic : 2012 Sep
European Union (EU) Americas Africa Oceania Asia Europe (non-EU) 2011 2007 YEAR RANKING World city livability CITY 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 9 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 24 25 26 28 29 30 Vienna, Austria Zurich, Switzerland Auckland, New Zealand Munich, Germany Düsseldorf, Germany Vancouver, Canada Frankfurt, Germany Geneva, Switzerland Bern, Switzerland Copenhagen, Denmark Sydney, Australia Amsterdam, Netherlands Wellington, New Zealand Ottawa, Canada Toronto, Canada Hamburg, Germany Berlin, Germany Melbourne, Australia Luxembourg, Luxembourg Stockholm, Sweden Perth, Australia Brussels, Belgium Montreal, Canada Nuremberg, Germany Singapore, Singapore Canberra, Australia Dublin, Ireland Stuttgart, Germany Honolulu, U.S. Adelaide, Australia Paris, France San Francisco, U.S. Number of cities from each region in the top 30* Tie Not ranked in 2007 NOW | CITY SOLUTIONS GRAPHIC: LAWSON PARKER, NGM STAFF SOURCE: MERCER CONSULTING Frank Rankings Ranking cities for "livability" grows more complicated each year. Just think of the urban scene in 2011: violent protests in Athens and elsewhere over economic issues, continuing unrest in Arab capitals, terrorist attacks on government buildings in Oslo and a summer camp nearby. All that strife prompted Mercer, a human resources consultancy, to add a separate personal safety section to its annual ranking of more than 200 cities, which helps companies determine cost of living adjustments for employ- ees transferred overseas. Baghdad ranked dead last overall; Luxembourg was first for safety, due to a low crime rate and stable political situation. Mercer weighs many factors in its overall rankings (right): education, public health, cen- sorship, mass transit, culture. Economists and other rankers take a different tack. The Cato Institute's urban planning expert Randal O'Toole favors looking at which cities draw the most newcomers. To him, that's a sign of affordable, livable cities. He reports that in the U.S., Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta are tops. ---Catherine Zuckerman *Numbers add up to 32 because of ties.