Amsterdam just misses top 10 on Mercer 2019 Quality of Living Ranking

Amsterdam just misses top 10 on Mercer 2019 Quality of Living Ranking

Last year, Amsterdam came in 12th on the 2018 Mercer Quality of Living Ranking (QOL). This year, however, the Dutch capital city has risen one place to take back the position it stood at in 2016: 11th place. It shares this position with Sydney, Australia.

Mercer 2019 Quality of Living Ranking

The Mercer Quality of Living Ranking is an annual report, now in its 21st edition. It evaluates local living conditions in more than 450 cities worldwide according to factors that are important to expats. This year’s ranking includes 231 of these cities. The QOL report facilitates the fair compensation of employees should they be sent on an assignment abroad by organisations and international companies.

In this edition, living conditions in cities across the globe were assessed according to 39 factors, which are weighted to reflect their importance to expats. These factors fall under the following 10 categories.

  • Housing
  • Consumer goods
  • Medical and health considerations
  • Economic environment
  • Schools and education
  • Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  • Recreation
  • Public services and transportation
  • Political and social environment
  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Top 10 Quality of Living cities

This year, for the 10th year in a row, Vienna, Austria comes out on top, with residents praising the city for its security, good public transport and the diversity of cultural and recreational facilities. Coming in closely after Vienna is Zürich, Switzerland, followed by Vancouver, Canada; Munich, Germany and Auckland, New Zealand, which all share 3rd place. In 2019, Vancouver also keeps its title as the highest ranking city in North America for the last 10 years.

Amsterdam just misses out on the top 10, coming in joint 11th place with Sydney, Australia. The Dutch city scores well on economic environment, schools and education and socio-cultural environment. If Amsterdam wants to make it into the top 10 next year, it will have to devote more attention to traffic problems and recreation.

The top 10 are as follows, with Europe doing particularly well and taking eight spots.

1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zürich, Switzerland
3. Vancouver, Canada
3. Munich, Germany
3. Auckland, New Zealand
6. Düsseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
9. Geneva, Switzerland
10. Basel, Switzerland

This year, Mercer also provides a separate ranking for personal safety, with Luxembourg, Luxembourg coming in first place and thus receiving the title of the safest city in the world. Helsinki, Finland, and Basel, Bern, and Zürich all in Switzerland follow in joint second. Western Europe dominates this ranking, however Brussels (47th place) falls considerably between 2005 and 2019 due to terrorist attacks, and Greece (102nd place) also takes a dive due to its slow recovery from the global financial crisis.

Bottom 10 Quality of Living cities

Coming in last in the 231st position is Baghdad, Iraq; however, it must be said that whilst this city came in last, it did show significant improvements in safety and health services. The following are the 10 cities scoring at the bottom of the ranking.

222. Conakry, Guinea Republic
223. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
224. Brazzaville, Congo
225. Damascus, Syria
226. N’Djamena, Chad
227. Khartoum, Sudan
228. Port au Prince, Haiti
229. Sana’a, Yemen Arab Republic
230. Bangui, Central African Republic
231. Baghdad, Iraq

For more information, please visit the Mercer website.

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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