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June 17, 2008
Cities Worldwide Ranked by 'Quality of Living'
According to a new survey by Mercer, Zurich has the best quality of living among all cities in the world. The Quality of Living Survey, which rates 215 cities, is "conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments." How did North American cities fare?

As explained by Mercer, the rankings are based on a scoring index of 100, with all cities compared to New York as the base city (with an index score of 100). European cities dominated the list. No U.S. city was listed among the top 25 cities. Honolulu came closest at #28, followed by San Francisco at #29. Boston was ranked #37 in the survey. The only other U.S. cities to crack the top 50 were Chicago and Washington D.C., (both ranked #44), New York (#49) and Seattle (#50).

Canadian cities fared much better, boasting 4 cities that were ranked among the top 25 worldwide: Vancouver (ranked #4), Toronto (#15), Ottawa (#19) and Montreal (#22).

Here are the 10 top-ranked cities in the Mercer 2008 Quality of Living Survey

  1. Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Vienna, Austria
  3. Geneva, Switzerland
  4. Vancouver, Canada
  5. Auckland, New Zealand
  6. Dusseldorf, Germany
  7. Munich, Germany
  8. Frankfurt, Germany
  9. Bern, Switzerland
  10. Sydney, Australia

"Businesses face constant challenges in identifying new markets, expanding operations and acquiring and strategically deploying resources," explained Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, in a press release. "Establishing suitable allowances linked to local costs and quality of living is essential in encouraging expatriate employees with transferable skills to accept international assignments."

The rankings were based on "detailed assessments and evaluations of 39 key quality of living determinants" grouped into categories such as political and social environment, economic environment, natural environment, health and sanitation, schools and education public, services and transportation and housing.

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