Vienna still rules the roost for expat quality of life

For the sixth year in a row, Vienna has been ranked as having the best quality of life in a survey of 230 cities across the world.

Vienna, Austrian flag
This year’s rankings, compiled by Mercer for employers placing staff on international assignments, sees European cities occupy seven of the first 10 spots.Only Auckland (3rd), Vancouver (5th) and Sydney (10th) manage to break Europe's dominance of the top 10.Singapore (26th) is the highest-ranking Asian city, while Dubai (74th) ranks first across the Middle East and Africa and Montevideo (78th) claims the top spot for South America.The annual study evaluates living conditions in almost 450 cities worldwide, ranking 230 of them on the basis of such factors as their political, cultural and social environments, education systems, health considerations, recreation and housing.“Taking a short- or long-term work assignment in a new country is both an exciting and challenging experience for employees and their families,” said Slagin Parakatil, principal researcher at Mercer.“Cultures, societies, and comparatively different climates, as well as political instability, high crime rates and poor infrastructure can be difficult to navigate and settle down in for employees and their families.“Employers need to assess whether their staff and families will encounter any drop in quality of living when relocating and ensure they are fairly compensated for it.“As with last year’s survey, we continue to recognise emerging cities that are increasingly becoming competitors to traditional business and finance centres.These so called ‘second-tier emerging cites’ are investing, particularly in infrastructure to improve their quality-of-living standards and ultimately attract more foreign companies.”Despite concerns about the eurozone’s sluggish economies, Germany has three cities in the top 10 while London is the highest ranked UK city, coming in at No 40.Ellyn Karetnick, leader of Mercer’s international mobility practice in the UK, commented, “Security has been tightened in many major European cities following the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen, and  Mercer is closely monitoring any potential impact on the living standard for expatriates and their families in these locations.“UK cities overall enjoy high standards of quality of living and remain stable and attractive locations for businesses.”In North America, Toronto (15th) and Ottawa (16th) joined Vancouver in the top 20 while San Francisco (27), Boston (34) and Honolulu (36) were the highest ranked US cities.Among SE Asia cities, Kuala Lumpur is the only one to join Singapore in the top 100. In South Asia, Colombo (132) ranks highest, closely followed by emerging Indian cities Hyderabad (138) and Pune (145).Both rank higher for quality of life than the country’s more traditional business centres of Mumbai (152) and New Delhi (154). “Considerable population increases in Mumbai and New Delhi in recent decades have increased existing problems, including access to clean water, air pollution and traffic congestion,” said the survey. In last place on the list was Baghdad.Top 10:1. Vienna2. Zurich3. Auckland4. Munich5. Vancouver6. Dusseldorf7. Frankfurt8. Geneva9. Copenhagen10. SydneyFor more Re:locate news and features about international assignments click here