Best and worst places to live in the world

The fantastic infrastructure, safe streets and great public health make Vienna the most desirable place to live in the world, according to consulting group Mercer.

The capital of Austria is filled with ornate buildings, public parks and a comprehensive bicycle network, and the city recently lowered the cost of its yearly public transport ticket to 1 euro a day. Despite its population of 1.7 million, serious crime is rare there.

For the survey, Mercer evaluated 420 cities worldwide according to factors such as political, social and economic environment, as well as health and sanitation, housing, education and public services and transportation.

Swiss and German cities also ranked quite high in the quality of living department, with Munich, Zurich, Frankfurt, Geneva, Dusseldorf and Bern making the top 10.

Senior researcher at Mercer, Slagin Parakatil, commented on the top ranking cities on the company’s website “”They are not immune to any decrease of living standards should this (economic) turmoil persist. In 2011 Athens is ranked in Europe among the lowest in the personal safety ranking.”

Mercer also ranked the cities based on personal safety, and because of the clashes between police and demonstrators, and the political instability happening there, Athens ranked low.

Oslo fell to 24th place in the safety survey because of Anders Breivik’s mass killing spree this past July. It would usually be in the top 15.

The continued poor security enforcement, political turmoil, and attacks on local people and foreigners made Baghdad the worst place to live this year in both safety and quality of life.

Economic and political unrest in places like the Middle East and Africa also pushed their scores down.

“Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably. Political and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region,”  Parakatil said.

Due to political stability and solid growth, places in the Asia Pacific region look set to benefit the most in the coming years.

Sydney, Wellington, Melbourne and Perth filled in the top 20 for quality of life while Singapore was the highest-ranking Asian city at 25th place.

Canadian cities Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto all made the top 15.

Top World Cities for Quality of Living
Vienna, Austria
Zurich, Switzerland
Auckland, New Zealand
Munich, Germany
Düsseldorf, Germany
Vancouver, Canada
Frankfurt, Germany
Geneva, Switzerland
Bern, Switzerland
Copenhagen, Denmark
Sydney, Australia
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wellington, New Zealand
Ottawa, Canada
Toronto, Canada

See the 2011 Quality of Living survey here.

See the 2011 Personal Safety survey here.



6 great places to live

Photo © Vallenari