|Top 5 cities: Quality of living
||Top 5 cities: Infrastructure
- Vancouver (5th)
- Ottawa (14th)
- Toronto (15th)
- Montreal (23rd)
- Honolulu (28th)
- Vancouver (9th)
- Atlanta (tied 13th)
- Montreal (tied 13th)
- Dallas (15th)
- Toronto (16th)
As a whole, North America enjoys high living standards. Canada, in particular, continues to offer a high quality of living, providing both local and expatriate residents with robust infrastructure and a breadth of easily accessible public services, from public transportation to health care. Relatively low crime levels also help Canadian cities rank highly in personal safety.
The lingering economic crisis has had the largest impact on quality of living in the United States in 2012. (Our survey was completed before Hurricane Sandy struck the northeastern United States in November of 2012, but that storm’s destruction may impair the quality of living in affected cities – including our base city, New York – in the coming months.)
Latin America and the Caribbean
Political instability, income inequality and economic uncertainty remain a problem for many cities in Central and South America. High crime rates also continue to plague many of the region's urban areas. Nevertheless, a number of cities remain attractive locations for expatriates and enjoy a good standard of infrastructure and recreational facilities, as well as a wide availability of international goods, among other factors.
Buenos Aires, Argentina, while maintaining its position in the ranking, witnessed a slight decline in its quality of living because of more stringent currency exchange regulations. The city was also hit by a severe storm in April 2012, resulting in several deaths, which has also had an impact on the city’s quality of living rating.
Violent demonstrations against a gold mining project coupled with high crime levels in Lima, Peru, have translated into greater security risks for expatriates travelling there.
Continued food shortages in Venezuela have led to a further decline in Caracas’ quality of living this year. Electricity blackouts have also become more frequent. These factors helped to move Caracas down four slots in our ranking.
In the Caribbean, Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago has witnessed improvements in infrastructure and recreational facilities, and it moved up 12 positions in our ranking.
Havana, Cuba, continues to present expatriates with security concerns and mediocre infrastructure, but has improved in recent years in terms of its recreational offerings.
Listen to Mercer's Steve Nurney (English), Melissa Mata (Spanish) and Renata Herrera (Portuguese) discuss the 2012 Quality of Living rankings for cities in the Americas.