Survey rates world’s cities for quality of life, best and worst, and for cost of living, most and least expensive

Mar 20, 2015

By Alison Steed

Austria’s capital Vienna offers the world’s best quality of life according to the latest research, with European cities dominating the top 10.

Singapore is one of the best cities in the world to live in but it's also the most expensive.

Singapore is one of the best cities in the world to live in but it’s also the most expensive.

International employment consultants Mercer considered everything from political stability to health care, transportation and culture when choosing the world’s top locations for its quality of living rankings.

Vienna is in top spot for the second year, ahead of Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver, which make up the top five.

San Francisco, Boston and Honolulu are the highest ranking cities in the USA, while Dubai hits top spot in the Middle East, and Singapore tops the rankings in Asia.

However, Singapore also has the dubious honor of being the most expensive city on earth to live in, according to the latest Worldwide Cost of Living Survey from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Many European cities also feature in the top 10.

Zurich is rated the top city for quality of life.

Zurich is rated the top city for quality of life.

Paris is Europe’s most expensive city, with Oslo, Zurich and Sydney taking places three to five. London – at 11th – is now as expensive to live in as Tokyo. The data analyzed to come up with the rankings takes into consideration more than 400 individual prices.

The highest ranked cities in Latin America are Montevideo, Uruguay (78), Buenos Aires, Argentina (91), Panama City (95) and San José, Costa Rica (106). Quito came in at 129.

Security has become an increasing issue worldwide as the terror threat from the likes of Isil grows, and European cities have taken steps to increase security following the Paris and Copenhagen attacks, said Ellyn Karetnick, leader of Mercer’s International Mobility Practice in the UK.

She added: “Mercer is closely monitoring any potential impact on the living standard for expatriates and their families in these locations.”

Best cities for quality of life (source: Mercer)

  1. Vienna, Austria (18th most expensive according to the Economist Intelligence Unit)
  2. Zurich, Switzerland (4th most expensive)
  3. Auckland, New Zealand (15th most expensive)
  4. Munich, Germany (29th most expensive)
  5. Vancouver, Canada (38th most expensive)

Worst cities for quality of life (source: Mercer)

  1. N’Djamena, Chad
  2. Khartoum, Sudan
  3. Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  4. Bangui, Central African Republic
  5. Baghdad, Iraq

Most expensive cities in the world (source: Economist Intelligence Unit)

  1. Singapore
  2. Paris
  3. Oslo
  4. Zurich
  5. Sydney

Cheapest cities in the world (source: Economist Intelligence Unit)

  1. Karachi
  2. Bangalore
  3.  Caracas
  4. Mumbai
  5. Chennai

Sources: Mercer Report, The Telegraph,


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