Vienna offers highest quality of living for expatriates, according to Mercer’s 2023 Quality of Living survey 

Seven out of top 10 cities located in western Europe, including three in Germany

NEW YORK, December 12, 2023 — Mercer, a global leader in redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being, and a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), today released its Quality of Living which assess the practicalities of daily life for expatriates and their families working outside of their home location.

Vienna retained the top spot in this year’s Quality of Living city ranking, followed closely by Zurich in second, with Auckland and Copenhagen claiming the third and fourth positions, respectively. Geneva rounds out the top five rankings, further highlighting Switzerland's reputation for providing a superior quality of living.

“Mercer’s data shows that countries with a high quality of living provide their citizens and expatriates with access to excellent healthcare, education, infrastructure, and social services as well as affordable housing,” said Yvonne Traber, Partner and Global Mobility Leader, Mercer.

Among the world’s largest metropolitan cities, with populations over ten million, Paris (32nd overall), New York City (40th overall) and London (45th overall) all rank highly in the top 20% of cities overall. Though coveted, popular locations for expats, cities of this size often face some infrastructure challenges.

“The current global landscape is affected by geopolitical turmoil, natural disasters, and other economic challenges, all of which have significant implications for cities and their ability to attract and retain talent. Many employees are reconsidering their priorities and assessing the quality of life provided to them and their families in the places they live and work,” Ms. Traber added. 

“For many employers and their employees, having clarity on these factors informs decision-making for both when considering international assignments.”

In response to employers’ interest in sustainability, Mercer ranked the world’s most environmentally-friendly cities. Canberra, Oslo, Adelaide, Helsinki, and Ottawa all ranked highly for a range of recent sustainability efforts, including effective measures to reduce air pollution and improve water availability and potability.

Around the world

In Europe, Vienna takes the top spot as the city with the highest quality of living, known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Zurich ranked second overall, owing to its political stability, cleanliness, and excellent infrastructure.

Vancouver (8th overall) is the highest-ranked city in North America this year, providing residents with a unique blend of outdoor recreation and cosmopolitan living, contributing to its high-quality lifestyle. San Francisco (37th overall) ranks first in the United States for its well-developed infrastructure, pleasant climate and great air quality. Montevideo (89th overall) is the top ranked city in Latin America. 

Dubai (79th overall) and Abu Dhabi (84th overall) in the UAE lead the rankings in the Middle East, both renowned for their modern infrastructure and diverse expatriate communities. Closely following is Port Louis (88th overall) with the best quality of living in Africa. 

First among Asian cities and 29th overall is Singapore, offering a clean and safe environment combined with highly efficient infrastructure. The highest-ranking city in the Pacific is Auckland (3rd overall) owing to its robust healthcare and dynamic cultural scene.

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About the 2023 Quality of Living Rankings

Mercer's Quality of Living research evaluates living conditions in more than 450 cities worldwide to help businesses calculate fair and consistent expatriate allowances. Living conditions are analyzed according to 39 factors, grouped into 10 categories: political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, medical and health considerations, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing, and natural environment.

Data for the 2023 Quality of Living Rankings was analyzed between September and November 2023, and it will be updated regularly to account for changing circumstances. In particular, the assessments will be revised to reflect significant political, economic, and environmental developments. All indices were calculated using New York City as the base city, due to its desirability and popularity for international assignees, and its high scores across the 39 factors.

The information and data obtained through the quality of living reports are for information purposes only and are intended for use by multinational organizations, government agencies, and municipalities. They are not designed or intended for use as the basis for foreign investment or tourism. In no event will Mercer be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance of the results obtained through the use of, or the information or data contained in, the reports. While the reports have been prepared based upon sources, information, and systems believed to be reliable and accurate, they are provided on an “as-is” basis, and Mercer accepts no responsibility/liability for the validity/accuracy (or otherwise) of the resources/data used to compile the reports. Mercer and its affiliates make no representations or warranties with respect to the reports, and disclaim all express, implied and statutory warranties of any kind, including, representations and implied warranties of quality, accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.

About Mercer

Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s approximately 25,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in 130 countries. Mercer is a business of  Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with more than 85,000 colleagues and annual revenue of over $20 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including MarshGuy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on LinkedIn and X.