Vienna is the city with the best quality of life in the world for expats

A day in the fall in Vienna park.
A day in the fall in Vienna park.
Image: Reuters/Heinz-Peter Bader
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The city with the best quality of life in the world is Vienna, Austria, according to one of the globe’s most comprehensive studies geared towards expats.

Every year, the world’s largest HR consulting firm Mercer evaluates local living conditions in more than 450 cities, according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories. Those categories include everything from medical supplies and services, to air pollution, from political stability and crime, to traffic congestion and banking services. It then places the cities in a Quality of Living ranking. The survey is meant to help multinational companies and other firms determine fair compensation for employees sent away on corporate assignment (expats) and provide them a “hardship premium” if they are sent to a country that doesn’t have a high quality of life.

Vienna topped the ranking for the ninth consecutive year due scoring high across the board. Mercer says that in, particular, Vienna provides expats with high security, well-structured public transportation, and a variety of cultural and recreation facilities. Zürich, Switzerland came in second place while Munich jumped into third position as “over time the city has made a concerted effort to attract talent and businesses by continuously investing in high-tech infrastructure and promoting its cultural facilities,” said Mercer.

No US cities made the top 20. San Francisco was the highest ranked city at 30 followed by Boston in 35th place. Honolulu came in at 36, thanks to its high sanitation ranking.