These are the world’s best cities to live in for quality of life, according to the people who live there

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Amy Lewis
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The ‘best place to live’ surveys have been coming in thick and fast this year - already Denmark has been crowned 2016’s happiest place to live, Switzerland ranks as Europe’s top country for quality of life, and Vienna has won world’s best city to live in according to the annual Mercer Quality of Life survey.

But, the Numbeo Quality of Life Index Mid-Year report just landed, and it’s thrown many a title into question.

Based on user-generated data rather than government or agency statistics, Numbeo compiles its index using what it calls ‘wisdom of the crowd’, aka people who are actually living their day-to-day lives in these places.

The results are based on a calculation which takes various factors into consideration, including purchasing power, pollution, cost of living, health care, safety, house price to income ratio and more.

Ready to see who came top?

For the fifth time in the survey’s history, Australia’s sun-soaked capital Canberra came in at first place. The inland city scored a ranking of 239.72 (higher is better), thanks to low pollution rates, low property price to income ratios and good quality health care rankings.

Wellington, considered New Zealand's cultural capital, nabbed second place, proving that it's famously windy weather doesn't take away from the overall happiness of its residents, while Adelaide and Melbourne came in third and fourth respectively.

Edinburgh - voted one of the safest cities to visit last year, and the only UK destination to make it into the index's top 50 - completes the shortlist with a score of 203.32. 

Regular top rankers Zurich, Vienna and Munich all made it into the top 10 too, joined by Victoria in Canada and Australia’s Brisbane, making a serious case for life Down Under.

Here’s how the top 20 plays out:

  1. Canberra, Australia
  2. Wellington, New Zealand
  3. Adelaide, Australia
  4. Melbourne, Australia
  5. Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  6. Zurich, Switzerland
  7. Victoria, Canada
  8. Vienna, Austria
  9. Munich, Germany
  10. Brisbane, Australia
  11. Sacramento, CA, United States
  12. Columbus, OH, United States
  13. Boston, MA, United States
  14. San Diego, CA, United States
  15. Perth, Australia
  16. Seattle, WA, United States
  17. Dallas, TX, United States
  18. Geneva, Switzerland
  19. Copenhagen, Denmark
  20. Portland, OR, United States

Founded in 2009, Numbeo uses its crowdsourcing methods to collect information on everything from the cost dining out and the price of milk, to transport fares, utility bills, clothing, gym memberships, rental rates and mortgage interest rates.

Anyone can contribute information about their city’s living conditions, by logging onto

You can see the full Quality of Life Index 2016 Mid-Year rankings here.

Images: iStock; Opening image: Canberra, Australia

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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.