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For the second year running, two European cities and one in New Zealand have claimed the title of the top three places to live in the world, according to the recently released Mercer 2012 Quality of Living survey. 

According to the survey, the Austrian capital of Vienna - with its young, dynamic culture and passion for fabulous food and coffee, has held tightly to its title for the seventh year in a row as the city with the world’s best quality of living. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place in the rankings, respectively, while Munich, Vancouver, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen, Bern and Sydney (tied) make up the rest of the top ten.

In the North American region, unsurprisingly, with its mix of friendly inhabitants, lively cities and breath-taking surroundings, Canadian cities did the best overall - Vancouver ranked the highest, taking fifth place overall to claim the best quality of living, followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (23). Venturing a bit little further South, sun-soaked Honolulu took the top spot for the United States, ranking at 29th, with laid back San Francisco close on its heels at number 30, followed by Boston (35).

Over in the Asia-Pacific region, it is not difficult to see why New Zealand and Australian cities took many of the top spots here, with their warm climate, vibrant bar and restaurant scenes and beautiful natural surroundings. After Auckland at number three, Australia’s largest ‘City of Sails’ Sydney came in at number 10 for quality of living, closely followed by New Zealand’s trendy capital Wellington (13), cosmopolitan Melbourne (17) and Perth (21). The highest-ranking Asian city was Singapore (25) - often referred to as the ‘Garden city’ of Asia.

At the other end of the scale, the survey found the cities with the lowest quality of living are Khartoum, Sudan (217); N’Djamena, Chad (218); Port-au-Prince, Haiti (219); and Bangui, Central African Republic (220). Baghdad, Iraq (221) ranks last.

Mercer conducts this survey annually to help multinational companies and other organisations compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. They look at living conditions in 221 cities surveyed worldwide, which are measured against on a point-scoring index using New York as a base to make comparisons, and are analysed according to a variety of factors including political stability, crime, law, economic environment, personal freedom, healthcare, education, leisure facilities, availability of consumer goods, housing, infrastructure (public transportation and roads) climate and natural disaster record.

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Bern, Switzerland and Sydney, Australia

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