Life

These are the world's top cities to live in, according to researchers

A view over the Austrian capital of Vienna.
Imagno | Getty Images

Vienna has been named the best city in the world to live in this year.

In a list published Wednesday, HR consultancy Mercer ranked 231 cities worldwide on their quality of living. The Austrian capital topped the list for the tenth year running, closely followed by Zurich in Switzerland. Auckland, Munich, and Vancouver — the highest ranking North American city for the last decade — came in joint third.

Mercer's rankings considered several factors including housing, economy, political and social environment, and health considerations, to determine the quality of living in each city.

Vienna is famed for its coffee-house culture, world-renowned museums, and imperial palaces. According to Mercer, the city also has world-class standards when it comes to areas such as recreation and availability of consumer goods.

In 34th place, San Francisco was named the best city to live in in the U.S., while Detroit was the lowest ranking U.S. city in 72nd place. U.K. capital London was ranked the 41st best city on Mercer's scale.

Singapore, in 25th place globally, held onto its status as Asia's most livable city. Elsewhere, Uruguay's capital Montevideo was the highest ranked in South America, while Port Louis, Mauritius, was Africa's top city.

At the other end of the scale, Iraqi capital Baghdad was ranked at the bottom of the list. However, Mercer noted that the city had seen significant improvements relating to safety and health services.

Venezuelan capital Caracas came in 202nd place, with researchers flagging that its living standards had dropped due to its current economic and political instability.

Safest cities

This year's ranking also included an additional focus on personal safety, with Western Europe dominating the category.

Luxembourg City was named the world's safest city, with central and eastern European cities including Prague, Vilnius, and Warsaw seeing a steady improvement in terms of personal safety. In Western Europe, a few cities — including Paris, Athens, and Madrid — saw a decline in personal safety due to terror attacks and internal instabilities.

Most locations in North America saw a decline in personal safety, according to Mercer's ranking. Chinese cities, on the other hand, generally improved.

Damascus, Syria's capital, was named the world's most unsafe city.

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