A city with coffee shops on nearly every corner, bike paths meandering through its charming streets and plentiful green spaces, Vienna retained its crown as the city with the best quality of life, according to a global survey by management consultancy Mercer.
The picturesque capital of Austria, which has topped the rankings for five consecutive years, was followed by Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver.
Mercer’s Quality of Living survey evaluates living conditions in 440 cities looking at 39 factors including political stability, crime, media censorship, medical supplies and services, availability of international schools and public transportation.
The survey is intended to help multinational companies determine compensation packages for their employees when placing them on international assignments.
Europe’s strong showing
European cities dominated the remainder of the top ten, with Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen and Sydney ranking in 6th to 10th place.
“Despite concerns about economic growth, the cities of Western Europe continue to offer a stable environment for employees and employers,” Mercer said.
“Security has been tightened in many major European cities following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen and Mercer is closely monitoring any potential impact on the living standard of the expatriates and their families in these locations,” it added.
While no U.S. cities were featured in the top 20, San Francisco, Boston and Honolulu were the highest ranking cities in the country in 27th, 34th and 36th place, respectively.
Meantime, in Asia – a region with the largest range in quality-of-living standards – Singapore was the top ranking city in 26th place.
Finally, Dubai ranked the highest across the Middle East and Africa region in the 74th spot.
Mercer identified several ’emerging cities’ that are becoming increasingly competitive to traditional business and finance centers.
“These so called ‘second-tier emerging cites’ are investing, particularly in infrastructure to improve their quality-of-living standards and ultimately attract more foreign companies.”
Hyderabad and Pune in India, Xi’an and Chongqing in China, Wroclaw in Poland, Durban in South Africa and Manaus in Brazil were included in this group.
“[Manaus] is already a thriving industrial center and has a free economic zone – its good supply of consumer goods and relatively advanced infrastructure partially counteract the impact of Manaus’ lack of international schooling options for expatriates and remote location,” Mercer said.