European cities continue to dominate the top of the ranking, with Zurich and Auckland in second and third place, respectively. Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which ranked fifth. Düsseldorf dropped one spot to rank sixth followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva in eighth, Copenhagen in ninth, and Bern and Sydney tied for tenth place.
In the United States, Honolulu (28) and San Francisco (29) are the highest-ranking cities, followed by Boston (35). Chicago is ranked 42nd, while Washington, DC, is ranked 43rd. Detroit (71) is the lowest-ranking of the U.S. cities that Mercer surveys.
Globally, the cities with the lowest quality of living are Khartoum, Sudan (217); N’Djamena, Chad (218); Port-au-Prince, Haiti (219); and Bangui, Central African Republic (220). Baghdad, Iraq (221) ranks last.
This year’s ranking separately identifies the cities with the best infrastructure based on electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transportation, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports. Singapore is at the top of this index, followed by Frankfurt and Munich in second place. Copenhagen (4) and Dusseldorf (5) fill the next two slots, while Hong Kong and London share sixth place. Port-au-Prince (221) ranks at the bottom of the list.The highest-ranking US cities on the city infrastructure list are Atlanta (13), Dallas (15), Washington, DC (22) and Chicago (28).
Canadian cities still dominate the top of the index for the Americas, with Vancouver (5) retaining the top regional spot, followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (23). Calgary ranks 32 on the overall quality of living ranking. Overall, there was almost no movement in rankings among Canadian cities from 2011 to 2012, with Calgary advancing one position, Montreal retreating one position and the other cities remaining unchanged.
In the U.S., New York—the base city—ranks 44. In Central and South America, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, ranks the highest for quality of living at 63. San Juan, Puerto Rico, follows at 72 and Montevideo, Uruguay, at 77. Port-au-Prince, Haiti, (219) ranks lowest in the region.
In terms of city infrastructure, Vancouver (9) tops the ranking for the region with Atlanta and Montreal following at 13. Other Canadian cities that ranked highly were Toronto (16) and Ottawa (25). In the United States, Dallas ranked 15, followed by Washington, DC (22), Chicago (28) and New York (30). Buenos Aires, Argentina, (83) has the best city infrastructure in Central and South America, whereas Port-au-Prince is the lowest ranking at 221.
Europe has 15 cities among the world’s top 25 cities for quality of living. Vienna retains the highest-ranking for both the region and globally. The rest of the top 10 for Europe are dominated by German and Swiss cities, with three cities each in the top 10. Zurich (2) is followed by Munich(4), Düsseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9) and Bern (10). The lowest-ranking Western European cities are and Belfast (64) and Athens (83).
Other European cities among the top 25 include Amsterdam (12), Berlin (16), Hamburg (17), Luxembourg (19), Stockholm (19), Brussels (22) Nürnberg (24) and Stuttgart (27). Paris ranks 29 and is followed by Helsinki (32), Oslo (32) and London (38). Dublin dropped nine places from last year to rank 35, mostly due to a combination of serious flooding and an increase in crime rates. Lisbon ranks 44, followed by Madrid (49) and Rome (52). Prague, Czech Republic (69) is the highest-ranking Eastern European city, followed by Budapest, Hungary (74); Ljubljana, Slovenia (75); Vilnius, Lithuania (79); and Warsaw, Poland (84). The lowest-ranking European city is Tbilisi, Georgia (213).
With six cities in the top 10, European cities also fare well in the city infrastructure ranking. Frankfurt and Munich rank the highest at second place, followed by Copenhagen (4) and Düsseldorf (5). London (6) and Hamburg (9) are followed by Paris, which ranks 12. Budapest (67) is the highest-ranking for city infrastructure in Eastern Europe followed by Vilnius (74) and Prague (75), whereas Yerevan (189) and Tbilisi (201) rank lowest.
“Infrastructure in German and Danish cities is among the best in the world, in part due to their first-class airport facilities, international and local connectivity, and a high standard of public services,” said Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer.
Auckland (3) retains its position as the highest-ranking city for quality of living in the Asia Pacific. Sydney follows at 10, Wellington at 13, Melbourne at 17 and Perth at 21. Singapore remains the highest-ranking Asian city at 25 followed by Japanese cities Tokyo (44), Kobe (48), Yokohama (49) and Osaka (57). Hong Kong (70), Seoul (75), Kuala Lumpur (80), Taipei (85) and Shanghai (95) are other major Asian cities ranked in the top 100. The region’s lowest-ranking cities are Dhaka, Bangladesh (203); Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (204); and Dushanbe, Tajikistan (207).
For city infrastructure, Singapore has the highest ranking worldwide followed by Hong Kong (6), Sydney (8), Perth (25), Tokyo (32) and Melbourne (34). Adelaide and Brisbane both ranked 37. Nagoya (41), Auckland (43), Kobe (44), Wellington (48), Seoul (50) and Osaka (51) are the next highest-ranking cities in this region. The region’s lowest-ranking city for city infrastructure is Dhaka, Bangladesh (205).
Middle East and Africa
Dubai (73) and Abu Dhabi (78) in the United Arab Emirates are the Middle East and Africa region’s cities with the best quality of living. Port Louis in Mauritius (82), Cape Town (89) and Johannesburg (94) follow, and along with Victoria in the Seychelles (96) and Tel Aviv (99), are the region’s only other cities in the top 100. This region has 15 cities in the bottom 20, including Lagos, Nigeria (202); Bamako, Mali (209); Khartoum, Sudan (217); and N’Djamena, Chad (218). Baghdad, Iraq (221) is the lowest-ranking city both regionally and globally.
In the city infrastructure index, most of the region’s cities rank below 100. The exceptions are Dubai (34), which ranks the highest in the region for city infrastructure, Tel Aviv (58), Abu Dhabi (72), Port Louis (91), Muscat (94), Cairo (95) and Cape Town (97). Port Louis, Cairo and Cape Town are the only African cities in the top 100. Elsewhere in the region, Doha, Qatar is at 102, Tunis, Tunisia, ranks 103 and Manama, Bahrain, is at 110. In terms of city infrastructure, Baghdad, Iraq, (220) is the lowest-ranking city regionally, along with Sana’a, Yemen (219); Brazzaville, Congo (218); Kigali, Rwanda (217); and Abuja, Nigeria (215).Mercer conducts this survey annually to help multinational companies and other organizations compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. More information is at http://www.mercer.com/qualityofliving.