23 Cities With The Best Quality of Life

Interest August 18, 2017 By Vincent

Money isn't everything in life. Most of us know that but what is harder to identify is the building blocks to a decent quality of life very year. Mercer, one of the world's largest HR consultancy firms, releases its Quality of Living Index which aims to answer that question by compiling a list of cities with the best quality of life.

Looking at over 450 cities worldwide, the ranking takes into account such things as:

  • Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement)
  • Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services)
  • Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  • Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution)
  • Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
  • Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion)
  • Recreation (restaurants, theaters, cinemas, sports, and leisure)
  • Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars)
  • Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)
  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

And here we look at which cities made it to the very top of the list.

23. Montreal, Canada

The French-speaking city has set out its stall as a center of commerce, finance, and technology in North Industry and the liberal nature of the country, as well as heavy investment in the public sector, seems to have paid dividends concerning the quality of life there.

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A city that hosts many international events and has an eclectic makeup of varying different ethnicities, it is a welcoming and cosmopolitan place.

22. Perth, Australia

With some of the most beautiful beaches in a country known for its breathtaking beaches, it is little wonder that people want to live in the so often sunny climes of this Western Australian city.

Eden Nguyen/

Not just about the sun and the sand, though, quality of living is high on many fronts here.

21. Luxembourg

The tiny European country is a city-state with low crime rates and very high levels of wealth which all feed into a multitude of other reasons to live there.

Bordering Belgium, France, and Germany, many of its residents aren't actually natives and are attracted by its picturesque beauty.

20. Stockholm, Sweden

The Swedish capital is known for its liberal lifestyles and chic design, but its balance of work, life, safety, and environmental issues sees it as an incredibly good place to live as well.


Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic center of Sweden and as such attracts a lot of people to it.

19. Hamburg, Germany

A major port city in Northern Germany, Hamburg is like a quieter alternative to Berlin and has become a center for media and industry.


Also, a transport hub, people from all over the world move through the city, and it has picked up the best of quality of living from all over.

18. Ottawa, Canada

With very low unemployment and a wealth  of post-secondary, research, and cultural institutions, Ottawa is often referred to as 'Canada's most educated city.'

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The historic Fort Henry is also considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, and with so much to offer its residents, there is little wonder that Ottawa makes the list.

=16. Toronto, Canada

Yet another Canadian city to make the list, Toronto is Canada's financial capital but also hosts many international festivals which play into its burgeoning entertainment scene.

image Diego Grandi/

One of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world, it is the most populous city in Canada.

=16. Melbourne, Australia

One of the best places in the world for education, healthcare, research, and development, it's natural beauty, and entertainment industry brings an influx of tourists that make the city wealthy.

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Gorgeous beaches and plenty of sunshine also probably make it quite a nice place to stay.

15. Wellington, New Zealand

The political capital of New Zealand, Wellington has a small town vibe and a liberal attitude to it with its film and entertainment industry bringing in the cash.

It's gorgeous mountainous and coastal surroundings also inspire environmentalism and engender a civic pride as well.

14. Bern, Switzerland

In this index, Bern came in as the second safest city in the world and with low unemployment and a growing tech sector bringing in, even more, opportunities as well


The super-wealthy Switzerland has plenty of wonderful scenery and lots of outdoor activities to go with it but is not the place to go if you want a wild nightlife. 

13. Berlin, Germany

The German capital has good employment opportunities, a high standard of housing, good personal safety, and tons of recreational activities so it is no wonder it places well on the list.


Very trendy right now, the young and hungry are flocking there and for good reason.

12. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Canals and cannabis are what springs to mind when most outsiders think of the cultural capital of the Netherlands, and the cosmopolitan combination of modern and urban life with relaxed attitudes toward recreation and leisure makes Amsterdam a great place to be.

A likely favorite for many British-based businesses to relocate to should Brexit ever happen, this is also, partially, because of the favorable tax rates.

=10. Sydney, Australia

7% of Australia's economy comes through Sydney with the majority of that being its finance and financial services, the largest employer in the city.

The natural environment, weather, and growing cultural scene give it a good boost as well with beaches, arts, and music all big scenes.

=10. Basel, Switzerland

With just 165,000 people to share in its very strong economy, the small, close-knit spirit of the city probably goes some way to explaining its breaking into the top 10.

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Very safe and very wealthy, it borders both Germany and France and sees many European nationalities pass through.

9. Copenhagen, Denmark

A once small, fishing village, Copenhagen grew into the capital of Denmark that is now famed for its work-life balance and liberal attitudes.

In fact, it is one of the happiest cities to live in the world as well.

8. Geneva, Switzerland

The Swiss just keep on coming with their quality cities to live in, and Geneva hits the heights as it is filled with an incredibly rich population.

Samuel Borges Photography/

Super educated and super safe; it's good going for those who call Geneva home.

7. Frankfurt, Germany

More financed focussed than the other German cities on this list, Frankfurt still factors highly in professional service jobs and entertainment.


Famous for its trade shows, it is the economic climate here that sets it up so well with good employment and abundant wealth.

6. Dusseldorf, Germany

Not done filling out this list yet, the Germans strike again with another quality city in the form of Dusseldorf.


Known for its fashion industry and art scene, it balances all points on the index fairly evenly.

5. Vancouver, Canada

Not to be outdone by Germany, Canada manages to sneak another city onto the list and breaks into the top 5 with the incredibly ethnically diverse Vancouver.

Justin X/

52% percent of the city do not have English as a first language, and yet it remains the city of choice for many to relocate to.

4. Munich, Germany

Perhaps known more for its beer festivals and successful soccer team than anything else, it could be argued that these are contributing factors to Munich's high quality of life.

Vlada Photo/

A German powerhouse, it regularly comes close to topping this list.

3. Auckland, New Zealand

Two large harbors helped build up the economy of New Zealand's biggest and most populous city.

With its well-balanced economy, idyllic environment, and high levels of personal safety it attracts a lot of global attention.

2. Zurich, Switzerland

Switzerland's economic and cultural hub, it is yet another example of the country's liveability.


Famed for its beauty and expense, it is wealthy and safe.

1. Vienna, Austria

Almost out of nowhere, Vienna is the only Austrian city in the top 23, but it comes in at number 1 due to its wealth of culture and err...wealth.


Safe and liberal it is the best of the best and yet is only the 7th largest city by population within city limits in the European Union.

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