The World’s Most and Least Livable Cities

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5. Vancouver, Canada
> Population: 2.20 million
> Infrastructure rank:
> National GDP per capita:
$50,496 (9th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely:
70 per 1,000 (18th lowest)

According to Mercer, Vancouver has the highest quality of life in North America, as well as the top-rated infrastructure of any city on the continent. In 2010 the city hosted the Winter Olympics. Before the games, the city added 180 new hybrid buses and 48 new light rail cars to its transportation infrastructure. Vancouver is also committed to becoming “the greenest city in the world” by 2020. The program designed to meet this goal involves reducing waste sent to landfills and incinerators by 50%, and reducing the city’s ecological footprint by 33%. In addition to Vancouver, the Canadian cities of Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal were rated by Mercer as having a better quality of life than every city in the U.S.

4. Munich, Germany
> Population: 1.35 million
> Infrastructure rank: 2
> National GDP per capita: $44,111 (18th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 76 per 1,000 (23rd lowest)

Munich is the capital city of Bavaria, a state in southeastern Germany, where most residents still live in small towns. The city is well-known for its beer, as well as for its annual fall festival — Oktoberfest. The city is also a frequent host to major sports events, including the 1972 Olympics and parts of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Two of Germany’s largest and most well-known companies — BMW and Siemens — are headquartered in Munich. It is also home to the Technical University of Munich, one of Germany’s best universities, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Also Read: The World’s Most and Least Emotional Countries

3. Auckland, New Zealand
> Population: 1.36 million
> Infrastructure rank: 43
> National GDP per capita: $35.973 (25th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 72 per 1,000 (19th lowest)

Auckland is New Zealand’s most populous city and its busiest transportation hub.It is also the country’s largest port, exporting metals and farm goods and importing petroleum and other commodities. The city is currently planning an innovation precinct, an area the project’s planner, Waterfront Auckland describes as being “where a cluster of companies … will accelerate the growth of high-tech ideas into commercial success.” Despite its size, New Zealand was ranked one of the world’s more competitive economies in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report.GDP per capita in 2011 was $35,973, which is among the top 25 countries in the world.The U.S. State Department notes that the crime rate is low and has been decreasing recently.

2. Zurich, Switzerland
> Population: 1.14 million
> Infrastructure rank: 24
> National GDP per capita: $83,073 (4th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 58 per 1,000 (3rd lowest)

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland, with a population of 368,677 as of 2010. It is also generally regarded as the financial and industrial center of the country. Zurich is home to two prominent global financial institutions: Credit Suisse and UBS. In addition, “Science City,” a think-tank facility constructed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, has cemented the city’s reputation as a haven for innovation and research. The city has also developed an art scene in recent years, with the city’s Raemistrasse district known as “Art Mile.”

1. Vienna, Austria
> Population: 1.69 million
> Infrastructure rank: 16
> National GDP per capita:
$49.688 (11th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 76 per 1,000 (23rd lowest)

Vienna, the capital of Austria and its largest city, has the world’s highest quality of living, according to Mercer. The city is a popular tourist destination, with St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Imperial Palace among the most popular sites. Vienna is also the main hub for Austria’s economy — one of the world’s strongest, with a GDP per capita of $49,688 in 2011, slightly higher than the U.S. figure of $48,328. Last year, Austria had the lowest unemployment rate in the Eurozone, at 4.2% according to the IMF.