Every year Mercer, one of the world’s largest HR consultancy firms, releases its Quality of Living Index, which looks at which cities provide the best quality of life.
The ranking is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and is carried out annually to help multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments, according to Mercer.
London and New York do not make it anywhere near the top of the list.
Looking at 450 cities across the world, Mercer takes into account the following metrics to judge which cities made the list for the best quality of life:
- Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement)
- Economic environment (currency-exchange regulations, banking services)
- Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
- Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution)
- Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
- Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion)
- Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure)
- Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars)
- Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)
- Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)
Mercer made a list of 230 countries and Business Insider took a look at the top 23 in the world.
23. Montreal, Canada — This city is one of five Canadian cities that made the overall rankings. The French-speaking city has established itself as a centre of commerce, finance, and technology.
22. Perth, Australia — Australia has some of the highest quality of living worldwide. The Western Australian city is home to some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.
21. Luxembourg — The tiny European country, which borders Belgium, France, and Germany, is incredibly wealthy and violent crime is very low. Some of the wealthiest people in the world bank in the picturesque city-state.
20. Stockholm, Sweden — The capital is considered one of the best places in the world for a good quality of living due to its balance of work, life, safety, and environmental issues.
19. Hamburg, Germany — The major port city in northern Germany is the second largest of its kind in the country. It has become a centre for media and industry and is home to the world’s second oldest bank: Berenberg Bank.
18. Ottawa, Canada — This city is considered the most educated in Canada with its wealth of post-secondary, research, and cultural institutions. It also has low unemployment and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
T=16. Toronto, Canada — Home to the iconic CN Tower, Toronto is Canada’s financial capital. It is also home to some of Canada’s five largest banks. It is growing its entertainment scene and hosts the famous Toronto Film Festival every year.
T=16. Melbourne, Australia — The coastal capital is considered one of the best places in the world for education, healthcare, research, and development. Its thriving tourism and entertainment sectors also keep the city wealthy.
15. Wellington, New Zealand — The Kiwi city is high up on the list and has sublime weather. It is the country’s political centre and is the second most populous area in New Zealand.
14. Bern, Switzerland — The city is considered by Mercer to be the second safest in the world. It’s rich in agriculture as well as traditional industry, and also has a low unemployment rate, making the region attractive to live in. Its growing tech sector is also drawing in new talent.
13. Berlin, Germany — The country’s capital is counted as having an excellent mix of quality of life — with good employment opportunities, a high standard of housing, good personal safety, and tonnes of recreational activities.
12. Amsterdam, Netherlands — It is one of the financial centres of Europe and also famous for its high standard of living and is touted as a favourite for companies to relocate after Brexit. The cosmopolitan city combines modern and urban life with relaxed attitudes toward recreation and leisure.
T=10. Sydney, Australia — The city represents 7% of the country’s economy, with finance and financial services the largest employer with 22% of all workers. The natural environment, weather, and growing cultural scene boosts Sydney up the list.
T=10. Basel, Switzerland — The small city of just around 165,000 people is located in the border triangle between Germany, France and Switzerland, and has beautiful surroundings and a strong economy.
9. Copenhagen, Denmark — The city was recently dubbed one of the happiest places to live on earth, and it’s not hard to see why. Originally a fishing village, Copenhagen has grown into a city with strong urban and cultural development and is famed for its work-life balance.
8. Geneva, Switzerland — The city is seen a the global centre for diplomacy and is home to some of the richest people in the world. It’s incredibly safe and its population is highly educated.
7. Frankfurt, Germany — The commerce-centric city is home to some of the world’s most famous trade shows, including the Frankfurt Motor Show. It is also a hive for professional services jobs.
6. Dusseldorf, Germany — The city in western Germany is known for its fashion industry and art scene and nearly tops the list with its good balance of Mercer’s 10 analytical measures.
5. Vancouver, Canada — The city is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities, with 52% of its population having a first language that is not English.
4. Munich, Germany — Munich is Germany’s powerhouse and regularly near the top of Mercer’s list for having the best quality of life.
3. Auckland, New Zealand — The city is based around two large harbours and nearly tops the list again with its well-balanced economy, idyllic environment, and high levels of personal safety.
2. Zurich, Switzerland — The city is known as the country’s economic and cultural hub, which regularly tops not just Mercer’s list, but others as well for being one of the best places to live in the world.
1. Vienna, Austria — This city tops the rankings for the seventh consecutive time. East of the Danube River, Vienna is the seventh-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union and is rich in culture.