EIU/Mercer reveals the list of the top 50 places in the world to live in 2015, with Melbourne ranking the most liveable city on Earth. Index factors include liveability, cost of living and safety.

Author: Gilly Wright, Valentina Pasquali
Project Coordinator: Denise Bedell, S.J. Yun

The "best cities to live" are those that offer the best quality of life.

Defining the term "quality of life" is not an easy task. In fact, what constitutes a good quality of life has occupied philosophers since Plato and Aristotle, and countless definitions have been proposed.

Nevertheless, it seems possible to find some elements on which most scholars agree. First of all, as "quality of life" is used to evaluate the overall well being of individuals and societies, it should not be with The Happiest Countries In The World. Although most studies on the quality of life indeed do take into account indicators of economic success such as income per capita, wealth and employment, they also go beyond those measures to include the environment, physical and mental health, education, leisure time, infrastructure and safety. Also often included are concepts such as freedom, human rights, human flourishing, social belonging and happiness.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Global Liveability Ranking and Report, August 2014 is a data driven ranking based on 30 qualitative and quantitative factors spread across five areas: stability, infrastructure, education, healthcare and environment.

TOP 50 BEST CITIES TO LIVE IN 2015

Rank
City
Country
1 Melbourne Australia
2 Vienna Austria
3 Vancouver Canada
4 Toronto Canada
5 Adelaide Australia
6 Calgary Canada
7 Sydney Australia
8 Helsinki Finland
9 Perth Australia
10 Auckland New Zealand
11 Zurich Switzerland
12 Geneva Switzerland
13 Osaka Japan
14 Hamburg Germany
15 Stockholm Sweden
16 Montreal Canada
17 Paris France
18 Frankfurt Germany
19 Tokyo Japan
20 Brisbane Australia
21 Berlin Germany
22 Copenhangen Denmark
23 Wellington New Zealand
24 Oslo Norway
25 Luxembourg Luxembourg
26 Amsterdam Netherlands
27 Honolulu United States
28 Brussels Belgium
29 Munich Germany
30 Pittsburgh United States
31 Hong Kong Hong Kong
32 Dusseldorf Germany
33 Lyon France
34 Barcelona Spain
35 Washington DC United States
36 Atlanta United States
37 Chicago United States
38 Miami United States
39 Detroit United States
40 Boston United States
41 Seatle United States
42 Los Angeles United States
43 Minneapolis United States
44 Madrid Spain
45 Cleveland United States
46 Dublin Ireland
47 Houston United States
48 Milan Italy
49 Rome Italy
50 Budapest Hungary

The ranking, which provides scores for lifestyle challenges in 140 cities worldwide shows that liveability across the world has fallen by 0.7%, led by a 1.3% fall in the score for stability and safety following a decade of destabilising events.  

This year’s list puts eight of the 10 most comfortable places to live in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, with Melbourne topping the list for the fourth year in a row.

The highest ranked cities tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density, which boast increased recreational activities, but without high crime levels and overburdened infrastructure.

London has slid down the ranking in recent years owing to increasing social unrest and poor transport infrastructure and is now ranked the third worst European city to live in.

That said, the EIU stresses that every one of the top 64 cities scores high enough for a place in the top tier of liveability, and “should be considered broadly comparable.”

Unsurprisingly cities with major conflicts are ranked lowest, including Damascus (140) Lagos (137) and Karachi (136) although the EIU excludes hotspots, such as Kabul and Baghdad, because the rankings are "designed to address a range of cities or business centers that people might want to live in or visit."

Cities experiencing the biggest decline in standards of living over the past five years (serious problems with unemployment, violence, civil unrest, and instability) are: St Petersburg (70), Moscow (73), Sofia (87), Athens (69), Tunis (103), Muscat (88), Cairo (120), Caracas (126), Kiev (124), Tripoli (132) and Damascus (140).
 

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