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Where are the Best Places to Live Abroad?

Survey of the best places to live abroad for expatsThe 'Liveability Report' is put together by The Economist who compile a list of the top 140 cities in the world to assess the best and worst living conditions for expats.

The survey originated as a means of testing whether Human Resource Departments needed to assign a hardship allowance as part of expatriate relocation packages. While this function is still a central potential use of the survey, it has also evolved as a broad means of benchmarking cities. This means that the report is increasingly used by city councils, organisations or corporate entities looking to test their locations against others to see general areas where liveability can differ.

It is compiled using five broad categories: stability; healthcare; culture and environment; education; and infrastructure. Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable or intolerable.

For the first time in almost ten years, Vancouver is not at the top of the ranking, having handed that position over to Melbourne although most Australian and Canadian cities still feature in the top 20. Europe has seen a slight decline in liveability due to the current crisis in the euro zone.

Civil unrest in Greece and across the Middle East and North Africa, has lowered scores for cities in these countries - Athens now has a rating below those of San Juan in Puerto Rico and Montevideo in Uruguay, and expatriate employees relocating to Athens may now qualify for a hardship allowance. Middle East cities such as Istanbul still feature as 109th, and the Arab Emirates at position 76.

The top 10 best cities are: Melbourne, Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Sydney, Helsinki, Perth, Adelaide and Auckland. At the very bottom is Zimbabwe.

Surprisingly, given that a large proportion of expats choose Spain as a favourite destination, the Spanish cities did not feature that highly with Barcelona coming in 34th, and Madrid at 39th.

Overall, Western Europe remains the most liveable region in the world, with an average regional score of 91.9 out of 100.

You can get a copy of the'Best Places to Live Abroad' dated August 2011 at The Economist

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