Vienna is the world’s best city to live in; Baghdad is the worst, and London, Paris and New York do not even make it into the top 35, according to international research into quality of life.
German-speaking cities dominate the rankings in the 18th Mercer Quality of Life study, with Vienna joined by Zurich, Munich, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt in the top seven.
Paris has tumbled down the league, falling 10 places to 37th, just ahead of London at 39th, almost entirely because of the city’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks.
The study examined social and economic conditions, health, education, housing and the environment, and is used by big companies to assess where they should locate and how much they should pay staff.
Vienna benefits not only from being a safe, beautiful and easy city to live in, but also from its position geographically as the gateway to central Europe. In 69th place, Prague is the highest ranking city in Central and Eastern Europe. At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest ranking cities in Europe are Kiev (176), Tirana (179), and Minsk (190).
US cities perform relatively poorly in the study, largely because of issues around personal safety and crime. The highest ranking city in the US is San Francisco, at 28th; Boston is 34th. Canadian cities, led by Vancouver, far outrank their US rivals in the table.
Zurich in Switzerland is named by Mercer as having the world’s second highest quality of life, but the Viennese say their city is far more fun. The highest rated cities from Asia are Singapore (on 26th), followed by Hong Kong ( 70th place) and Shanghai (on 101).
Bucharest, the Capital of Romania, is on 109th place, followed by Rio de Janeiro (117), Beijing (118), Istanbul (122) and Bangkok (129).
The Mercer Quality of Living survey named the top ten as:
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