The 2011 list from The Economist/Economist Intelligence Unit is now available.
Four Australian and three Canadian cities are are on the list with all of the Canadian cities in the Top 5.
The ranking scores 140 cities from 0-100 on 30 factors spread across five areas: stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. These numbers are then weighted and combined to produce an overall figure. The top ten cities occupy the same positions as last year, with the exception of Melbourne and Vienna, which have swapped places.
The report, which some companies use to determine hardship allowances for relocated employees, explains what makes a high-ranked city:
Cities that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This often fosters a broad range of recreational availability without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure. Seven of the top ten scoring cities are in Australia and Canada, where population densities of 2.88 and 3.40 people per sq km respectively compare with a global (land) average of 45.65 and a US average of 32.
The complete report is available for a fee. The Economist Intelligence Unit also offers (for free but registration is required) a ten page summary.