The 18th Mercer Quality of Life study has ranked Vienna as the world’s best city to live in. In the same study, Baghdad was found to be the worst city to live in, while London, Paris and New York did not feature in the top 35.
Paris, in particular, didn’t fare too well in the study and dropped 10 places to 37th - this drop is mostly due to the French capital’s perceived vulnerability to terrorist attacks. American cities also fared poorly, mostly because of issues related to crime and personal safety. The highest ranking city in the US is San Francisco, in 28th place, followed by Boston, in 34th place. London, which has never been in the top 10 of the Mercer study, scores poorly for traffic congestion, climate and air pollution.
The Mercer study, which examines a city’s social and economic conditions as well as housing, the environment, health and education, is dominated by German-speaking cities. In fact, apart from Vienna in top position, Zurich, Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf all feature in the top seven.
Various factors have helped Vienna consolidate its top place. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Austrian capital became the gateway to eastern European countries, which is critical to both business and tourism. Austria also has one of the highest figures for GDP per head in the world. Moreover, Vienna’s population is young, which contributes to making the city a lively place to live in.
The Mercer Quality of Life study is used by big companies to assess where they should relocate their business and how much they should pay their workforce.
Best places to live in the world
1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Sydney, Australia