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Canada - The World's Best Country to Live in

Vancouver is Third in World in Annual Quality of Life Survey

Vancouver ranked third overall in the 2005 annual "Quality of Life Survey", published by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. This year's score matches Vancouver's previous score in the 2004 Quality of Life survey.

Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland were tied for first place with scores of 106.5. Vancouver's score was 106, which tied it with Vienna, Austria. Other Canadian cities, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal , and Calgary took 14th, 20th, 22nd and 25th place, respectively.

All five Canadian cities in the survey were praised for their relatively high levels of "personal safety and security" and for being in a politically stable country, according to a report from CBC News (see below).

For almost a decade (up to the year 2001), Canada was ranked number one among 175 countries in the United Nation's Quality of Life survey.

Canada still manages to maintain a relatively high standard today. According to the 2004 UN Human Development Index, Canada was ranked fourth overall. (Read detailed 2004 information on Canada from the United Nations web site.)

What is the United Nations Human Development Index?

The United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) examines the health, education and wealth of each nation's citizens by measuring:

  • life expectancy
  • educational achievement -- adult literacy plus combined primary,
  • secondary and tertiary enrolment; and standard of living -- real GDP per capita based on PPP exchange rates.

The UN also computes a Gender-Related Development Index that extends the HDI to take into account gender differences in the ranking criteria. Canada ranks well in this category: 2nd in 2002, 1st in 1997, and 2nd in 1996.

Canada has the best educated people and the highest literacy rate in the world. Canadians live longer than anyone on the planet, except people in Japan and Iceland.

Vancouver, the best city in the Americas

In a similar vein, the Geneva-based Corporate Resources Group compares more that one hundred major international cities in their annual 'quality of life' survey. Rankings are compiled by using 42 factors covering political and economic stability, crime, pollution, health, environment, education, infrastructure and leisure facilities.

In 2004, Condé Nast Traveler magazine voted Vancouver the "Best City in the Americas" at its annual Readers' Choice Awards ceremony held in New York. Vancouver won the top spot over Victoria and Quebec City.

What the UN says about Vancouver

  • In the 1996 UN HDI Survey, Geneva placed first, but Canadian cities were well represented. In particular, the five Canadian cities surveyed all placed in the top 13: Vancouver (2), Toronto (4), Ottawa (6), Montreal (8), Calgary (13).
1996 U.N. Global Glimpse of Human Development
Top 10
Bottom 10
1. Canada 165. Central African Republic
2. Norway 166. Mali
3. United States 167. Eritrea
4. Japan 168. Guinne-Bissan
5. Belgium 169. Mozambique
6. Sweden 170. Burandi
7. Australia 171. Burkina Faso
8. Netherlands 172. Ethiopia
9. Iceland 173. Niger
10. United Kingdom 174. Sierra Leone