Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

What is Really the Best City in the World?


According to research from Mercer Consulting the best city in the world in 2010 is Vienna, Austria.

Zurich is second and Vancouver and Auckland share joint fourth place. London or New York are nowhere near the top. European cities, especially German cities Düsseldorf, Munich and Frankfurt dominate the top 10. Beautiful Paris is only 33rd and London is even lower at 38th. The highest ranking American city is Honolulu at 29. The top scoring Asian city is Singapore at 26 then Tokyo at 35. The bottom of this list? Not surprisingly, the bottom ranking city in which to live in 2010 is Baghdad at 215th.

New York ranks at 49th, one of the lowest of the American cities that make it into the list of top 50 (after San Francisco, Boston, Portland, Washington, DC, Chicago) but above Seattle at 50th.

Quite a few Eastern European cities have moved up in the rankings as a result of their efforts in increasing quality of living factors. Consistent improvement, increasing stability and providing a greater availability of international consumer goods have all contributed to this increase. Ljubljana in Slovenia, Bratislava and Zagreb all move up several places in the rankings.

The excellent infrastructure in Germany has helped its cities maintain the high rankings in this survey. “German city infrastructure is amongst the best in the world, in part due to its first class airport facilities and connections to other international destinations,” said Mercer Consulting.

London also has high scores for excellent infrastructure with the high level of public services, extensive public transport network and great variety of telecommunication services.

The Quality of Living Survey is an aid to help governments and multinational organisations design appropriate packages for their expat employees. Mercer explains that the rankings are based on a point-scoring index, with Vienna’s score at 108.6 and Baghdad at 14.4. This survey is regularly updated to take into account changing circumstances. The survey analyses living conditions categorised under 39 factors in 10 categories. These include:

  • Political and social environment
  • Economic environment
  • Socio-cultural environment
  • Health and sanitation
  • Schools and education
  • Public services and transportation
  • Recreation
  • Consumer goods
  • Housing
  • Natural environment


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