The world's greatest places to live


Vienna has topped a list of the world’s greatest cities to live, according to a study conducted by the consultancy firm Mercer.

The Mercer 2010 Quality of Living Survey once again found that Vienna was the best place to live in terms of Quality of Life. Eschewing popularity or social excitement, the Mercer list evaluates living conditions relating to 10 factors – Political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, health and sanitation, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing and natural environment.

In accordance to their evaluation process, some of the world’s most popular, and certainly most desired, places to live such as London, New York and Tokyo, were nowhere near the top of the list.

Europe dominated the top 10 with Swiss cities Zurich and Geneva following Vienna to claim second and third places respectively. Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich of Germany came in at seventh, eighth and ninth respectively and Australia’s Sydney rounded off the top 10.

London charted at 39, Tokyo at 40 and New York achieved a sorry 49. However the last placed city on the list was Baghdad, which Mercer attributed to “A lack of security and stability”.

The purpose of the list is for companies who place employees on international assignments. Mercer’s senior researcher, Slagin Parakatil said: “As the world economy becomes more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial centres are emerging as attractive places in which to expand or establish a business. Cities in many emerging markets, such as in the Middle East or Asia, have seen a significant influx of foreign companies and their expatriate employees in recent years”.

He added that “To ensure their expatriates are compensated appropriately and an adequate hardship allowance is included in their benefits package, companies seek a clear picture of the quality of living in these cities. We have reviewed our index to reflect these developments and it now better represents the cities that most interest our clients.”

For more location specific information, please see our relevant Expat City Guides.