Mercer Ranks Vienna as City with Highest Quality of Living

Have you been dreaming of living in Europe? You may have found a little more incentive to move there. According to Mercer, the world’s largest human resources consulting firm, Vienna, Austria has been named the city with the highest quality of living. In addition, only two non-European cities cracked the top ten: Auckland, New Zealand and Vancouver, Canada.

Many of Europe’s cities offer the world’s highest quality of living and remain attractive destinations for expanding business operations and sending expatriates on as­signment.

City infrastructure plays an im­portant role when multinationals decide where to establish loca­tions abroad and send expatriate workers. Easy access to trans­portation, reliable electricity, and drinkable water are all important considerations when determining hardship allowances based on dif­ferences between a given assign­ee’s home and host locations.

Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the 8th year running, with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities: Zurich is in sec­ond place, followed by Auckland, Munich, Vancouver, Dus­seldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Copenhagen, and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place.

North America

In North America, Canadian cities take the top positions in the ranking. Vancouver is again the region’s highest ranking city for quality of living. Toronto and Ottawa follow in 16th and 18th place respectively, whereas San Francisco is the highest-rank­ing US city (at 29th globally), followed by Boston (35), Honolulu (36), New York (44), and Seattle (45).

High crime rates in Los Ange­les (58) and Chicago (47) resulted in these cities dropping nine and four places respectively. Monter­rey (110) is the highest-ranking city in Mexico, while the coun­try’s capital, Mexico City, sits at 128. In South Ameri­ca, Montevideo ranks highest for quality of living at 79th, followed by Buenos Aires (93) and Santiago (95). La Paz (157) and Caracas (189) are the lowest ranking cities in the region.

With regard to city infrastructure, Van­couver also ranks highest in the region. It is fol­lowed by Atlanta and Montreal, tied in 14th place. Overall, the infrastructure of cities in Canada and the United States is of a high standard, including the airport and bus connectivity, the avail­ability of clean drinking water, and the reliability of electricity supplies. Traffic congestion is a concern in cities throughout the whole region. Tegucigalpa and Port-au-Prince have the lowest scores for city infra­structure in North America at 208th and 231st, respectively. In 84th place, Santiago is the highest ranking South American city for infrastructure; La Paz is the lowest at 168th.


Singapore remains the highest-ranking city in the Asia- Pacific region with a global ranking of 25th, where there is great disparity in quality of liv­ing; Dushanbe (215) in Tajikistan ranks lowest. In Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur (86) follows Sin­gapore; other key cities include Bangkok (131), Manila (135), and Jakarta (143). Five Japanese cities top the ranking for East Asia: Tokyo (47), Kobe (50), Yokohama (51), Osaka (60), and Nagoya (63). Other notable cities in Asia include Hong Kong at 71st, Seoul (76), Taipei (85), Shanghai (102), and Beijing (119). There is also considerable regional variation in the city infrastructure ranking. The highest-ranked city is Singapore (1), whereas Dhaka (214) is near the bottom of the list.

New Zealand and Australia continue to rank highly in quality of living: Auckland (3), Sydney (10), Wellington (15), and Mel­bourne (16) all remain in the top 20. However, when ranked for infrastructure, only Sydney (8) makes the top ten, with Perth (32), Melbourne (34), and Bris­bane (37) also ranking well for infrastructure in Oceania. Overall, cities in Oceania enjoy good quality of living, though criteria such as airport connec­tivity and traffic congestion are among the factors that see them ranked lower in terms of city infrastructure.

Middle East and Africa

Dubai (74) continues to rank highest for quality of liv­ing across Africa and the Middle East, followed close­ly by Abu Dhabi (79). Sana’a (229) in Yemen, Bangui (230) in the Central African Republic, and Baghdad (231) in Iraq are the re­gion’s three lowest-ranked cities for quality of living.

Dubai also ranks highest for infrastructure in 51st place. Only five other cities in this region make the top 100, in­cluding Tel Aviv (56), Abu Dhabi (67), Port Louis (94), Muscat (97), and upcoming host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Doha in Qatar, which ranks 96th for infrastructure. Cities in African and Middle Eastern countries dominate the bottom half of the table for infrastruc­ture, with Brazzaville (228) in the Republic of the Congo, Sana’a (229), and Baghdad (230) ranking the lowest.

Are you currently looking to move abroad? Possibly to one of the cities highlighted above? Stevens International would be happy to get you there! They have the knowledge, resources and experience to make it happen. Head on over to their estimate form to get started today!