The world's most livable cities is an informal name given to any list of cities as they rank on a reputable annual survey of living conditions. Two examples are the Mercer Quality of Living Survey and the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Report.
Liveability rankings are designed for use by employers assigning hardship allowances as part of job relocation. There have been numerous arguments over the expansion of livability rankings for other purposes. However, the annual city rankings attract extensive media coverage, are a popular topic of discussion.
The EIU's Global Liveability Report 
|The EIU's Global Liveability Report|
The Economist Intelligence Unit's (EIU) most recent global liveability report shows cities in Australia, Canada, Austria, Finland and New Zealand as the ideal destinations, thanks to a widespread availability of goods and services, low personal risk, and an effective infrastructure. It does not take into account climate or the cost of living as a factor in 'liveability.' The Economist Intelligence Unit has been criticized by the New York Times for being overly anglocentric, stating that "The Economist clearly equates livability with speaking English."
Their August 2012 report placed Melbourne, Australia as the most livable city in the world, with Vienna, Austria taking second place, followed by Vancouver, Canada, unchanged from the top three of the previous year.
Other Australian cities also ranked highly in the survey, with Adelaide holding equal 5th position, with Calgary in Canada. Sydney was at 7th position and Perth at 9th. A third Canadian city, Toronto was among the top ten, holding the 4th spot. Toronto is the largest city by population among the top ten cities, with nearly six million inhabitants within its metropolitan area.
Mercer's Quality of Living Survey 
|Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey|
American global human resource and related financial services consulting firm Mercer releases annually the Quality of Living Survey, comparing 221 cities based on 39 criteria. New York 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 and public transportation.
The list helps multi-national companies decide where to open offices or plants, and how much to pay employees.
In the 2011 list of cities, the top of the list was dominated by Europe, Canada, and New Zealand; and Switzerland and Germany both had 3 cities in the top 10. The first entries from other countries were Sydney at 11, Singapore at 25, Honolulu at 29, and Tokyo at 46. Baghdad was at the bottom of the list. Of the 25 cities at the bottom, 15 were in Africa. Compared to lists for previous years, cities in South Asia (mainly India), East Asia (mainly China), the Middle East and Eastern Europe were clearly on the rise.
The 2010 rankings also identified the cities with the best eco-ranking based on water availability and drinkability, waste removal, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and traffic congestion. Calgary was at the top of this index (score 145.7), followed by Honolulu in second place (score 145.1) and Ottawa and Helsinki in joint third (score 139.9). Wellington in New Zealand (5), Minneapolis (6), Adelaide (7) and Copenhagen filled the next four slots, while Kobe, Oslo and Stockholm shared ninth place. Port-au-Prince in Haiti ranked at the bottom of this table with a score of only 27.8.
Monocle's Most Livable Cities Index 
|Monocle's Most Livable Cities Index 2012|
Since 2007, the lifestyle magazine Monocle has published an annual list of livable cities. The list in 2009 was named "The Most Livable 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 transportation, tolerance, environmental issues and access to nature, urban design, business conditions, pro-active policy developments and medical care.
The 2012 rankings continued thus: Kyoto (11), Fukuoka (12), Hong Kong (13), Paris (14), Singapore (15), Hamburg (16), Honolulu (17), Berlin (18), Vancouver (19), Madrid (20), Barcelona (21), Portland (22), San Francisco (23), Montréal (24) and Geneva (25).
Collating the three rankings above by awarding a city 10 points for placing first, 9 points for second, etc., an averaged Top 10 is thus:
Vienna (26), Zurich (19), Melbourne (15), Vancouver (14), Munich, (13), Helsinki (12), Auckland (11), Copenhagen (10), Sydney (8), Toronto (7), Adelaide (6), Calgary (5), Düsseldorf (=5).
See also 
- Global Liveability Survey
- List of cities by quality of living
- List of most expensive cities for expatriate employees
- EU Green Capitals
- The Economist Intelligence Unit (Aug 2012). "The Liveabililty Ranking and Overview August 2012". The Economist. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- A. B. (2012-08-15). "Liveability ranking: Where the livin' is easiest". The Economist. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- Melbourne Tops Livability Survey
- The Best Place to Live? 2010/05/27 New York Times
- eiu.com August 2011
- "2012 Quality of Living worldwide city rankings - Mercer survey". Mercer.com. 2012-12-04. Retrieved 2012-12-22.