If you ask 100 random people which city ranks the best to live in, chances are you will get 100 different responses because “best” is subjective and depends on the respondents’ values.

But Resonance, a consultancy group in real estate, tourism, and economic development, wanted to create a comprehensive ranking system.

“Our goal here was not to just create an index for tourism or just for business or just for livability. It was really to provide and create a ranking that took a holistic view of the city,” Chris Fair, president, and CEO of Resonance Consultancy told AFAR. “When we say ‘best cities,’ it’s not just best city to live, it’s not just [the] best city to work or [the] best city to visit. It’s taking a cross-section of all those factors.”

Resonance has conducted the study for years but changed its grading system based on how cities responded to the COVID0-19 pandemic.  The first list was published back in January, but its new list of World’s Best Cities of 2021 considers outdoor experiences, clean air, and the ability to innovate.

Resonance Consultancy looked at cities with populations over 1 million. These cities were then ranked using a combination of core statistics (like GDP and homicide rates) and qualitative evaluations by both locals and visitors (from online channels like Instagram and TripAdvisor). 

“Many of the factors that people told us were important in choosing a city to live or do business or visit were related to the experiential quality of the city—things like culture, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and sports,” Fair added. “There are no core statistics for those kinds of factors. What really distinguishes our rankings is that we are mining user-generated data in channels like TripAdvisor and Yelp to measure those experiential factors.”

Cities were ranked into six core categories: Place, People, Programming, Product, Prosperity, and Promotion. 

With all of those things factored in, here’s how the rankings of the world’s best cities landed for the 2021 report released October 22, 2020:

  1. London, England
  2. New York City
  3. Paris, France
  4. Moscow, Russia
  5. Tokyo, Japan
  6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  7. Singapore
  8. Barcelona, Spain
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Madrid, Spain
  11. Rome, Italy
  12. Chicago
  13. Toronto, Canada
  14. San Francisco
  15. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  16. St. Petersburg, Russia
  17. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  18. Berlin, Germany
  19. Prague, Czech Republic
  20. Washington, D.C.
  21. Istanbul, Turkey
  22. Las Vegas
  23. Doha, Qatar
  24. Seoul, South Korea
  25. Sydney, Australia

To see the full list of the world’s 100 best cities, visit bestcities.org.