Mercer Quality of Life Survey 2010 is released

Vienna gets top position as Mercer Consulting release their 2010 Quality of Life Index.

European cities have topped the polls as being the best places to live in terms of quality of life with Vienna taking the top spot for the second year running, followed by Zurich and Geneva. The bottom of the table was largely unchanged from the previous year’s results with Baghdad; Bangui, Central African Republic; and Ndjamena, Chad all being named as cities in which the quality of life on offer was low.

While European cities continued to dominate the top 25 spots in the survey, it was bad news yet again for the United Kingdom, which had only one city in the top 50; London, which was placed at position 39. Other UK cities that featured in to top 100 were Aberdeen, at position 53; Birmingham, at position 55; Glasgow, at position 57 and Belfast, at position 63.

Canadian cities emerged as offering a better quality of life than their Australian cousins, with four Canadian cities placing in the top 25. These were Vancouver (4), Ottawa (14), Toronto (16) and Montreal (21). Although Calgary didn’t appear in the top 25 cities it did top the poll in the newly introduced eco-city ranking, which grades cities on their lifestyle in terms of water availability and potability, waste removal, sewage, congestion and pollution. Discussing the new eco-city rankings, Slagin Parakatil, a senior Mercer researcher said: “Calgary’s top ranking is down to its excellent level of service on waste removal, sewage systems, and water drinkability and availability, coupled with relatively low air pollution.” It was a different story in the USA and not one United States municipality featured in the top 25 rankings for quality of life. The best city to live in the USA according to the survey is Honolulu (31) followed by San Francisco (32).

Australian cities were also ranked highly in the survey with Sydney placed at position 11, Melbourne at 18, Perth at 21, Canberra 26, Adelaide 32 and Brisbane 36.

Singapore was named as the best city in Asia in which to live, at position 28, followed by the Japanese cities of Tokyo (40), Kobe and Yokohama (joint 41), Osaka (51) and Nagoya (57). This year’s survey revealed a decline in the quality of life in a number of Asian cities and commenting on this Parakatil revealed: “Quality of living declined in a few countries in Asia between the start of 2009 and 2010. Increasing threats of violence and terrorism, coupled with natural disasters such as earthquakes, typhoons and cyclones have had a negative impact on the quality of living in Asian cities. This may result in higher hardship allowances for expatriates sent to these countries.”

In India, the best city to live emerged as Bangalore, at position 140, an improvement of two places since the previous year’s results.

The Mercer Quality of Life Survey

The Quality of Life Survey is conducted by Mercer Consulting; a subsidiary of the Marsh and McLennan companies. Describing the annual survey, Mercer Researcher Slagin Parakatil said: “Companies seek a clear picture of quality of living in these cities” and went on to explain that the aim of the annual analysis is to assist employers to offer compensation packages that are suitable and fair when they relocate employees on company business. The survey assesses 221 cities across 39 different factors, which include political stability in the city and region in which it is located, crime levels, strength of the currency, health, education, sanitation and eco-rankings. The rankings are then generated on a point-scoring index that ranks cities against New York as the base city, which has an index of 100. This year, 6 new cities were added to the survey, which means that a direct trend comparison between this year and last year is not possible. Further discussing the survey Parakatil commented: “As the world economy becomes more globalised, cities beyond the traditional financial centres are emerging as attractive places in which to expand or establish a business. Cities in many emerging markets, such as in the Middle East or Asia, have seen a significant influx of foreign companies and their expatriate employees in recent years.

“To ensure their expatriates are compensated appropriately and an adequate hardship allowance is included in their benefits package, companies seek a clear picture of the quality of living in these cities. We have reviewed our index to reflect these developments and it now better represents the cities that most interest our clients.”

Mercer’s top 10 cities for quality of life

1. Vienna

2. Zurich

3. Geneva

4. Vancouver

4. Auckland

6. Düsseldorf

7. Frankfurt

7. Munich

9. Bern

10. Sydney

For further details concerning the survey methodology and results please see the Mercer Quality of Living website.

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