Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mercer's 2009 Quality of Living survey: the world's most liveable cities

Clean, safe and a little bit dull... the world's most liveable cities In a survey of the world's most liveable towns, published yesterday, European cities dominate but not the European cities that you might imagine. Paris comes only 33rd, between Adelaide and Brisbane. London comes 38th, jointly with Yokohama. The city with the highest quality of urban living in the world, according to the survey, is Vienna, followed by Zurich and Geneva. Auckland and Vancouver come joint fourth. All of these cities have a reputation – perhaps undeserved – for crashing dullness. Cities with romantic, glitzy reputations, from New York (49th) to Rome (55th), fare badly. (link via Mercer's 2009 Quality of Living survey highlights - Global European cities dominate the top of the ranking Vienna scores highest for overall quality of living, Baghdad the lowest Singapore ranks top for city infrastructure; London ranks eighth Mercer’s Quality of Living ranking covers 215 cities and is conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments. Top 5 cities - Overall: Vienna, Austria (1st) Zurich, Switzerland (2nd) Geneva, Switzerland (3rd ) Vancouver, Canada (tied 4th) Auckland, New Zealand (tied 4th) As an American I think this is disappointing news : No American city comes in the top 25. What do you think of the survey results?


  1. First of all, Mercer is as political as any other similar organization out there, with their own agenda. So be careful what you believe. Their "method" differs greatly from other sources.

    But, as a Canadian who lived in Vancouver, in Europe throughout their "top 10 list", and now lives in South Florida, their list makes me happy because I know their reasoning is biased, and not in-line with what really matters when it comes to true quality of life. In other words, they are just measuring the degree of "socialism" nothing more. to them a "tram" or large people mover is a good thing, to me its a way of keeping the common folk in the "rat race". How many times do you find "rich people" on a subway? Never... Im simplifying not writing an essay, so please bear with me...

    This is all a modern version of the aristocracy that North Americans fought against, but now can be termed Euro-crats instead Aristocrats.

    So it will be impossible to find too many cities in North America that rank too high, because American ideals do not require Government to do everything, some things yes has Obama has correctly demonstrated, but everything no.

    You might want to consider the most "competitive" economies list that was also recently published, and surprise surprise, US again tops the list, and even the #2 country lagged far behind. In other words there is no #2.

    What this translates into is that your typical European is living "a lifestyle imposed on to them by their government", a quote provided by the current French Finance minister, while American's live they way they want.

    If Mercer can not understand that, or more correctly in their "objective methods" do not value that, or can not measure that, it's just their opinion.

    As I say, I have lived through out their "top 10" and prefer the U.S. 1000 times...

    You might also want to talk to some immigrants from the "old countries" to see/understand why they left, and why they'd never go back (except to die)... I could go on forever, its part of my job to analyze the numbers in life, but don't worry... let them think they got it better, this way they will leave us alone!

    Besides, would you really want to live in Vienna or in Germany where you'd freeze in July? :)

  2. Hello Anthony. Thanks for all the information and giving me more to think about. It's all very interesting.

    I realize as you quite rightly point out that these surveys are by organizations with their own agenda so I think we should take the results with a grain of salt. I try not to take them too seriously. I suppose the danger in these surveys is that they might actually have an influence on some people.

    And no I would not want to live in Vienna or Germany. I'm happy where I am. : )

  3. I live in New Zealand, and it has some serious downsides. Cold, mouldy homes, heaviest cannabis use in the world, dangerous roads, very high cost of living and tax burden, stretched-to-the-limit medical system, I could go on (visit expatexposed for more of them). But all the quality of life polls tout New Zealand as a wonderful place to live. I found otherwise. Can't wait to move away. I was very happy back in the States, and regret being misled into thinking I could have been happier elsewhere because of inaccurate quality of life "studies" that are often sponsored by entities with vested interests.

  4. Wow. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing the info about New Zealand. That's a real eye-opener for me. I admit that I've always thought it was a wonderful place to live because as you say, it's always listed on all the quality of life polls. Indeed, I am truly surprised to hear anything negative about New Zealand! The very high cost of living and tax burden plus the medical system stretched to the limit, sounds just like the UK.