Article Tools

Quality of Living Rankings: Vienna Tops the List Again

Published: March 4, 2015; 15:00 · (Vindobona)

Vienna remaines at the top of the 2015 Quality of Living Rankings, boasting the best quality of living for expatriates. In the top 5 there are two other European cities, Zurich (place 2) and Munich (place 4). Also Auckland (3rd) and Vancouver (5th) are among the top five cities.

Vienna: City with Highest Quality in Life / Picture: © Mercer LLC

Vienna has the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2015 Quality of Living rankings.

Overall, European cities dominate the top of the ranking along with major cities in Australia and New Zealand.

Zurich, Auckland, and Munich are in second, third, and fourth places respectively.

In fifth place, Vancouver is the highest-ranking city in North America and the region’s only city in the top 10.

Singapore (26) is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai (74) ranks first across the Middle East and Africa.

Montevideo in Uruguay (78) takes the top spot for South America.

Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

Employee incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium.

Mercer’s Quality of Living Rankings cover 230 prevalent destinations for globally mobile talent and are based on Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey.

Mercer compiles Quality of Living Reports and Location Evaluation Reports for each city, providing an overview of conditions and hardship premium recommendations.

Despite concerns about economic growth, the cities of Western Europe continue to offer a stable environment for employees and employers. Vienna (1) is followed by Zurich (2), Munich (4), Düsseldorf (6), and Frankfurt (7). With Geneva and Copenhagen in 8th and 9th places, respectively, Western European cities take seven places in the top 10. The lowest-ranking cities in Western Europe are Belfast (63) and Athens (85). Cities in Central and Eastern Europe have a wider range of quality-of-living standards. The highest-ranking cities are Prague (68), Budapest, and Ljubljana (both ranked 75th). Emerging city Wroclaw (100), Poland, has a thriving cultural and social environment and good availability of consumer goods. The region’s lower-ranking cities are Kiev (176), Tirana (180), and Minsk (189), with Kiev experiencing a considerable drop in the rankings following political instability and violence in Ukraine overall.

In the UK, London (40) is the highest-ranking city, followed by Birmingham (52), Glasgow (55), Aberdeen (57), and Belfast (63). “UK cities overall enjoy high standards of quality of living and remain stable and attractive locations for businesses,” said Ellyn Karetnick, Principal at Mercer. “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.”

As part of the rankings, Mercer highlights select cities that are evolving as business centers around the world.

Durban, South Africa (85) – Growing manufacturing and shipping center
Cheonan, South Korea (98) – A tech and university center
Taichung, Taiwan (99) – Rich cultural traditions have helped bring in key local and international industries
Wroclaw, Poland (100) – Strong talent pool and good infrastructure
Manaus, Brazil (127) – Manaus attracts businesses as a Free Economic Zone
Hyderabad, India (138) – Home to many in the service industry (IT, insurance, and financial companies)
Chongqing, China (142) – Major manufacturing (esp. automotive industry) center and transportation hub
Xi’an, China (142) – An economic and technology development zone
Pune, India (145) – Hosts IT and automotive companies