Vienna Has Best Living Standard, Baghdad the Worst, Mercer Says

Vienna has the best quality of life among more than 220 cities around the world, according to a report published by Mercer. Baghdad has the worst as well as being the most dangerous place to live.

European cities dominate the rankings, with only two cities outside Europe, Auckland and Vancouver, in the top 10, said Mercer, the consulting unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos. European cities, headed by Luxembourg, also take the top seven places for personal safety.

“European cities in general continue to have high standards of living, because they enjoy advanced and modern city infrastructures combined with high-class medical, recreational and leisure facilities,” Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, said in the report. “Economic turmoil, high levels of unemployment and lack of confidence in political institutions make their future positions hard to predict.”

Mercer compiles the rankings to advise clients on how to calculate pay for expatriates and compensate them for decreases in their quality of life. Factors taken into account include the political and economic environment, health, education, housing and public services.

Three Swiss cities, Bern, Geneva and Zurich, are all ranked in the top 10 cities for both quality of life and personal safety. Vienna and Auckland also feature in the top 10 on both measures, according to the report.

The top-ranked mainland U.S. city for quality of living is San Francisco in joint 30th place with Adelaide and Paris, eight places ahead of London. Singapore, which is ranked 25th, is the best-placed Asian city for quality of living and safety.

Chicago, Houston, Honolulu and San Francisco are the best ranked U.S. cities for personal safety in joint 53rd slot. Aberdeen and Glasgow are the safest cities in the U.K., in joint 44th place, Mercer said.

The following tables rank the top 10 cities for quality of living and personal safety.

          Quality of Living        Personal Safety

                Vienna                   Luxembourg
                Zurich                   Bern
                Auckland                 Helsinki
                Munich                   Zurich (2=)
                Duesseldorf              Vienna
                Vancouver                Geneva
                Frankfurt                Stockholm (6=)
                Geneva                   Singapore
                Bern                     Auckland
                Copenhagen (9=)          Wellington (9=)
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