This City Has the Best Quality of Life In the World
Hint: It’s not in the US.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:44 AM
Calling all aspiring travelers—if you want to make a move soon, might we suggest relocating to Europe? While we’re all about chic Parisian style and the coastal islands of Italy (although there are some great incentives to move to the smaller villages as well), this year, Vienna is on our radar.
Why? Well, according to Mercer’s 20th Annual Quality of Living Survey, Vienna’s topped the list once again, for the ninth year in a row, thus making it the best city to live, particularly for expats. Taking into account factors such as climate, sanitation, ease of communication, medical care, social and political climate, and physical remoteness, Mercer aims to provide international employees with all the tools they need, so that they know what to expect when they leave their home country. It also allows organizations to know what to compensate their international employees when they make the move abroad.
The top 10 cities for best quality of life are below:
1. Vienna, Austria 2. Zurich, Switzerland 3. Auckland, New Zealand and Munich, Germany (tied) 5. Vancouver, Canada 6. Dusseldorf, Germany 7. Frankfurt, Germany 8. Geneva, Switzerland 9. Copenhagen, Denmark 10. Basel, Switzerland
It’s interesting to note that seven of the top cities are in Europe, while not a single American city made the cut. And it’s no surprise Vienna keeps coming up on top—the city’s gorgeous architecture, multiple museums, sprawling parks, and number of bike pathways give visitors ample access to nature and culture, and it also boasts one of the best healthcare systems in Europe: Employees have access to private healthcare as part of their employment package, which results in shorter wait times and access to pharmacies, but anyone living and working in Vienna has access to free public healthcare.
As to why America wasn’t featured on the list? It’s possible paying for health insurance, quality of work-life balance, general unaffordability, job opportunities, and political factors play a part. It’s also interesting to note that while Vienna takes the top spot in the Mercer Quality of Life Study, it also features pretty high—second place, to be exact—on the 2017 Global Livability Report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which also tracks conditions such as infrastructure, education, and stability. The City of Music is doing something right.
Studies like these are more important now than ever before, as the global economy changes and becomes more integrated, and with more people moving out of their home countries. “How successful an international assignment is hinges on the personal and professional wellbeing of the individual expatriate and the welfare of their families,” explained Slagin Parakatil, principal at Mercer, in the official press statement. “As well as a significant hinder to a city’s business and talent attractiveness, poor quality of living can considerably impact an expatriate’s lifestyle.”
And millennials seem to be changing the game more than you might realize. Parakatil noted, “Younger generations, millennials in particular, often have high expectations in terms of lifestyle, leisure, and entertainment opportunities. Companies sending expatriates abroad need to get the full picture of conditions on the ground in order to compensate their employees appropriately for any decrease in living standards.”
While it’s true millennials seem to be living in hotels for the ‘gram and choosing to forego grocery stores for takeout and online options, a number of factors make them far from the richest generation. So, for them, moving for a job should be worth it—and in fact, most millennials aren’t moving to the big cities after all, since the cost of living is just too high.
Looking to make a move, just not across the pond? Consider Boulder, Colorado, which was recently dubbed the happiest city in America for its green spaces, dedicated bikeways, and sustainable urban development—much of the same reasons Vienna tops the Quality of Living list.
Want to see where your city stands? Order the entire report here.
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