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(PHOTOS) Vienna tops 2014 'Quality of Living' rankings; Vancouver top Canadian at 5th
It's never a shocker when Vienna tops one of these things, but it's happened again...
The Austrian capital – the centre of Europe's high society and a landmark for sophisticated, coffee and opera-loving tourists – was named No. 1 on the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living survey, which ranked cities around the world.
Vancouver, B.C. topped all of Canada and all of North America, coming in fifth place.
In second was Zurich, Switzerland. In third and fourth (respectively) were Auckland, New Zealand and Munich, Germany.
North America faltered behind Europe in Mercer's rankings. Ottawa came 14th, Toronto came 15th, and Montreal finished 23rd, while San Francisco was the top American city at 27th.
Meanwhile, in addition to the three Euro centers in the top five, two German cities – Dusseldorf and Frankfurt – ranked sixth and seventh.
"European cities enjoy a high overall quality of living compared to those in other regions," said Slagin Parakatil, a senior researcher at Mercer.
"Healthcare, infrastructure, and recreational facilities are generally of a very high standard. Political stability and relatively low crime levels enable expatriates to feel safe and secure in most locations. The region has seen few changes in living standards over the last year."
On North America:
"On the whole, North American cities offer a high quality of living and are attractive working destinations for companies and their expatriates," said Parakatil. "A wide range of consumer goods are available, and infrastructures, including recreational provisions, are excellent."
Baghdad, Iraq ranked the lowest, at 223rd.
The survey says a "quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium" are the two most-important factors in its rankings.
Prominent negative factors include political instability, high crime levels, and elevated air pollution.
Mercer's press release says it "conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments."
North American Rankings (2014 Mercer Quality of Living)
27. San Francisco
67. St. Louis
122. Mexico City