City Life: Rankings (Livability) Versus Perceptions (Satisfaction)

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113 Scopus citations


I investigate the relationship between the popular Mercer city ranking (livability) and survey data (satisfactions). Livability aims to capture objective quality of life such as infrastructure. Survey items capture subjective quality of life such as satisfaction with city. The relationship between objective measures of quality of life and subjective measures is weak (correlation of about 0. 4). Trust is highly correlated with both, objective livability (0. 8) and subjective satisfaction with city (0. 65). I postulate to pay more attention to subjective indicators of quality of life. After all, what matters is what we perceive, not what is out there.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-451
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


  • Best places to live
  • Cities
  • City rankings
  • Livability
  • Mercer
  • Perceptions survey
  • Satisfaction
  • Urban audit
  • Urban quality of life
  • Well-being


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