The 15 best cities to live in

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"Find a city, find myself a city to live in. I will find a city, find myself a city to live in."

That's what Talking Heads were singing about in 1979 and the topic of finding a city to live hasn't been made any easier.

Luckily for us, there are teams of experts studying the quality of living in major cities all over the world, aiming to establish the best place to live in the world.

One of those groups of experts is Mercer who for the past 19 years has been conducting an their annual, in-depth and fascinating Quality of Living survey.

Factors such as infrastructure, transportation, reliable electricity and quality of drinking water for expatriates are all considered in their survey.

For the eighth year in a row, the capital of Austria, Vienna, came out on top, closely followed by Zurich and Auckland

The top ten for 2017 is as followed.

  • 1. Vienna, Austria
  • 2. Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3. Auckland, New Zealand
  • 4. Munich, Germany
  • 5. Vancouver, Canada
  • 6. Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 7. Frankfurt, Germany
  • 8. Geneva, Switzerland
  • 9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  • = 10. Basel, Switzerland
  • = 10. Sydney, Australia

As you can see the top 10 is mostly dominated by cities in central Europe, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

The highest-ranked American city was San Francisco which came in at number 29.

London was the highest-ranked city in the United Kingdom, coming in at number 40 overall.

The lowest ranking city of those surveyed was the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, a location which has suffered through war and terrorism for more than a decade now.

For this first time this year, Mercer compiled a separate ranking for city infrastructure and the results were slightly different than the previous list.

They were as follows:

  • 1. Singapore, Singapore
  • 2. Frankfurt, Germany
  • 3. Munich, Germany
  • 4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 5. Dusseldorf, Germany
  • 6. Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 7. London, UK
  • 8. Sydney, Australia
  • = 9. Hamburg, Germany
  • = 9. Vancouver, Germany
  • = 9. Zurich, Switzerland

Curiously there were six cities to finish in the top ten in both lists.

They were Munich, Zurich, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Vancouver and Sydney.

In a press release Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer's Career business said:

Economic instability, social unrest, and growing political upheaval all add to the complex challenge multinational companies face when analysing quality of living for their expatriate workforce.

For multinationals and governments it is vital to have quality of living information that is accurate, detailed, and reliable.

It not only enables these employers to compensate employees appropriately, but it also provides a planning benchmark and insights into the often-sensitive operational environment that surrounds their workforce. 

In uncertain times, organisations that plan to establish themselves and send staff to a new location should ensure they get a complete picture of the city, including its viability as a business location and its attractiveness to key talent.

HT Mercer

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