2009 Quality of Living global city rankings

Vienna has passed Zurich to take the top spot as the world's city with the best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2009 Quality of Living Survey. Geneva is in third position, while Vancouver and Auckland are now joint fourth in the rankings.

Overall, European cities continue to dominate the top locations in this year's survey. In the UK, London ranks at 38, while Birmingham and Glasgow are jointly at 56. In the US, the highest ranking entry is Honolulu at position 29. Singapore (26) is the top-scoring Asian city followed by Tokyo at 35. Baghdad, ranking 215, remains at the bottom of the table.

The rankings are based on a point-scoring index, which sees Vienna score 108.6, and Baghdad 14.4. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city with an index score of 100. Mercer's Quality of Living ranking covers 215 cities and is conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments.


There have been few changes in the rankings for North American cities. Canadian cities still dominate the top of the index for this region. Vancouver (4) retains the top spot and Honolulu (29) is the city in the United States with the highest quality of living. Washington and New York remain in positions 44 and 49 respectively.

In Central and South America, San Juan in Puerto Rico retains the highest ranking at 72, followed by Montevideo at 79. Port au Prince (206) in Haiti continues to rank lowest in the region and has gone down four places in the overall ranking due to food shortages experienced in 2008 and the subsequent riots.

Mr Parakatil commented: "A number of South and Central American countries have experienced positive changes. But on the whole, political and security issues, and the incidence of natural disasters, continue to hinder the improvement of quality of living in the region. Shortages of consumer goods have also contributed to a decline in quality of living in some cities."

In terms of city infrastructure, Vancouver (6) again tops the ranking for the whole of the region, with Atlanta following in position 15. Santiago in Chile has the best city infrastructure in Central and South America, whereas Port au Prince is again the lowest ranking at 212.


Europe's cities once more dominate the world's top 10 for quality of living. Vienna is the city rated with the best quality of living worldwide, moving up one place in the rankings following improvements in Austria's political and social environment. The rest of the top 10 for Europe are dominated by German and Swiss cities, most of them retaining last year's ranking and scores. Zurich, in second place, is followed by Geneva (3), Dusseldorf (6), Munich (7), Frankfurt (8) and Bern (9).

Many Eastern European cities have seen an increase in quality of living. A number of countries which joined the European Union back in 2004 have experienced consistent improvement with increased stability, rising living standards and greater availability of international consumer goods. Ljubljana in Slovenia, for example, moves up four places to reach 78 while Bratislava moves up three places to 88. Zagreb moves three places to 103.

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