L.A. Report Card

If Melbourne, Montreal and Seattle-Tacoma rate as "very good" cities, how does Los Angeles fare in "Cities: Life in the World's 100 Largest Metropolitan Areas"?

Los Angeles, is, well, "good," the 29th out of 100 cities rated for their overall "livability." London ranks just above us; Milan just below.

And how did Lotus Land earn this not-so-perfect rating? Our education and housing standards may be relatively high, but such factors as public safety and air quality bring us down in the rankings. Consider:

The city of Los Angeles and its neighboring suburbs rank below average on public safety, with 12.4 murders per 100,000 people. Not surprisingly, given the overcrowding of L.A. freeways, the city also falls below average on traffic flow. And, besides being a fairly noisy city, its air quality is lower than that of all other U.S. cities studied for the survey.

Surprisingly, given that it is one of the communication capitals of the world, Los Angeles rates only slightly above average on telephone service, with an estimated 35 phones per 100 people.

When it comes to education, however, Los Angeles gets relatively high marks, with 90% of its children in secondary school. Housing standards are also relatively high here, with 94% of households reported to have running water and electricity.

On all other measures--the amount of housing space, the percentage of income spent on food and the rate of infant mortality--Los Angeles ranks at the top in worldwide comparisons.

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