If you're trying to assess the quality of living standards outside your headquarters region, one guide is the Quality of Living Survey 2000 by William M. Mercer Cos. LLC. Its analysis, which used 39 criteria, of 218 cities found that four cities --Vancouver, Vienna, and the Swiss cities of Zurich and Berne -- had the highest overall quality of living. Others in the top 10: Sydney, Geneva, Auckland, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Amsterdam. Twelve of the top 20 cities were in Western Europe. The U.S. had 12 of the top 50, but only two in the top 20 -- Honolulu and San Francisco. Cities in Vietnam and China continued to rate poorly in world terms because of their instability, as did cities in the Middle East because of the region's political tensions. The lowest quality of living rankings were among African cities.