UK cities nowhere in sight in world’s quality of living rankings

Vienna, Austria

Vienna’s rents and public transport costs are cheap compared with other western capitals CREDIT: REX

Vienna, Austria’s grand capital on the Danube river, has topped consulting firm Mercer’s list of cities offering the highest quality of life for the eighth year in a row, while Baghdad is again considered the worst place to live.

Meanwhile London, together with other global centres Paris, Tokyo and New York City did not even make the top 30, lagging behind most big German, Scandinavian, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian cities. The England and UK capital ranked 40th, two spots behind its French counterpart.

The survey of 231 cities helps companies and organisations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. It uses dozens of criteria such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.

Singapore was the highest ranked Asian city, at 25 while 29th-placed San Francisco was the United States’ highest entry. Top of the list in Africa was South Africa’s Durban at 87.

Top five cities by region
Top five cities by region

Vienna’s 1.8 million inhabitants benefit from the city’s cafe culture and museums, theatres and operas. Rents and public transport costs in the city, whose architecture is marked by its past as the centre of the Habsburg empire, are cheap compared with other western capitals.

Switzerland’s Zurich, New Zealand’s Auckland, Germany’s Munich and Canada’s Vancouver followed Vienna in the top five of most pleasant cities to live in.

Two bombs have exploded in a busy market area in central Baghdad
A busy market area in central Baghdad after an explosion  CREDIT: AFP

Baghdad was again ranked lowest in the world. Waves of sectarian violence have swept through the Iraqi capital since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Six years into Syria’s bloody war, Damascus was ranked seventh from bottom, with Bangui in the Central African Republic, Yemeni capital Sanaa, Haiti’s Port-au-Prince, Sudan’s Khartoum and Chad’s N’Djamena filling out the end of the list.

 

Top ten cities

  1. Vienna (Austria)
  2. Zurich (Switzerland)
  3. Auckland (New Zealand)
  4. Munich (Germany)
  5. Vancouver (Canada)
  6. Dusseldorf (Germany)
  7. Frankfurt (Germany)
  8. Geneva (Switzerland)
  9. Copenhagen (Denmark)
  10. Basel (Switzerland) and Sydney (Australia)

Bottom ten cities

231. Baghdad (Iraq)

230. Bangui (Central African Republic)

229. Sana’a (Yemen)

228. Port au Prince (Haiti)

227. Khartoum (Sudan)

226. N’djamena (Chad)

225. Damascus (Syria)

224. Brazzaville (Congo)

223. Kinshasa (Democratic Rep. of the Congo_

222. Conakry Guinea

UK ranking

40. London

45. Edinburgh

53. Birmingham and Glasgow

58. Aberdeen

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