Mercer 'Quality of Living' survey reveals 2019's best and worst cities to live in

Thinking of migrating to a more agreeable locale? Then perhaps you should consider moving to Vienna, which has been named the best city to live in for the tenth year in a row.

Famed for its packed cultural calendar, coffee houses and imperial architecture, the Austrian capital scooped top honours in Mercer's latest Quality of Living survey.

The annual index compares 231 cities around the world, ranking them on factors such as crime, education, healthcare, public services, recreation, housing and personal freedom.

While Australia ranked highly in quality of living, no Australian city could crack the top ten with Sydney sitting just outside at number 11 and Melbourne number 17. However, all Australia's major cities all ranked within the top 50 for safety.

Vienna beat Zurich in Switzerland to claim top spot in the survey, which saw Auckland, Munich and Vancouver tied in third. The highest ranked city in the UK was London, which came in a lowly 41, ahead of Edinburgh (45), Glasgow (48) and Birmingham (49).

Mercer's Kate Fitzpatrick said London's high crime rate and poor air quality left the English capital lagging behind European rivals such as Frankfurt (7), Amsterdam (11) and Dublin (33).

"London remains the city with the highest quality of living in the UK and the preferred centre for international business," she said. "However, it continues to be held back by perennial problems with traffic and air pollution, and having the lowest scores in the UK for safety owing to its crime levels."

The five highest ranking North American cities were all Canadian – Vancouver (3), Toronto (16), Ottawa (19), Montreal (21) and Calgary (32) – while the best performing US city was San Francisco (34). Asia's top ranked destination was Singapore (25).    

At the other end of the table was the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, which, despite significant advances in security and healthcare, remained rock bottom, lagging behind Bangui in the Central African Republic and Sana'a in war-torn Yemen.  

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Saa'na, Yemen.

Sana'a, Yemen. Photo: Alamy

Switzerland and Germany each had three cities in the top ten: Zurich (2), Geneva (9) and Basel (10); and Munich (3), Dusseldorf (6) and Frankfurt (7) respectively.

For the first time this year, Mercer provided a separate ranking for personal safety, following analysis of crime levels, law enforcement, personal freedom and freedom of the press.

Luxembourg came out on top followed by Basel, Bern, Helsinki and Zurich, which were joint second. London ranked 64, just behind Nassau in the Bahamas. And the most dangerous city? Damascus in Syria.

With Brexit uncertainties lingering, Mercer claimed it was vital UK and Irish cities maintained a high quality of life to boost their international appeal.

"With the potential effects of Brexit continuing to evolve, it has never been more important for British and Irish cities to reflect on what they can do to continue to remain attractive locations for multinational organisations," said Fitzpatrick.

"Quality of living is determined by many factors, from access to public transport and traffic congestion levels, to the availability of housing and international schools, to a city's cultural scene. British and Irish cities and municipalities must work hard to ensure they remain competitive internationally, and keep pace with change."

Mercer, a New York-based human resources consulting firm, isn't the only organisation to produce an annual "liveability" survey. The Economist Intelligence Unit does likewise and also rates Vienna as number one, ahead of Melbourne and Osaka.

The Telegraph, London

See also: 100 years old, but still too rude for public display

See also: The world's most terrifying place to spend Christmas

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