The Best Cities in the World to Live In

(CC) Yaisog Bonegnasher/FlickrVienna is the city with the best living standard in the world, according to Mercer’s Quality of Living Index 2012. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place in the ranking, while Barcelona and Madrid rank in 40th and 49th position, respectively.

Mercer conducts the survey to help governments and multinational companies compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

It ranks 221 cities worldwide, based on a spectrum of political, economic and socio-cultural factors including health and sanitation, schools and education, public services, transportation, recreation, availability of consumer goods, housing, and natural environment. Of these, the political and social environment was weighted most heavily, followed by medical and health, and then public services and transportation.

To view the complete rankings and related stories, go to the Mercer’s website