VIENNA – Vienna, Austria’s grand capital on the Danube river, offers the highest quality of life of all cities in the world, while the Iraqi capital Baghdad, once more, took its place at the bottom of the list compiled by consulting firm Mercer.
The survey of 230 cities helps companies and organizations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. It uses dozens of criteria such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.
Vienna’s 1.7 million inhabitants benefit from the city’s cafe culture and museums, theaters and operas. Rents and public transport costs in the city, whose architecture is marked by its past as the center of the Habsburg Empire, are cheap compared with other Western capitals.
Switzerland’s Zurich, New Zealand’s Auckland, Germany’s Munich and Canada’s Vancouver followed Vienna — which reached the best position for the seventh time in a row — in the top five most pleasant cities to live in.
Baghdad was again ranked lowest in the world. Waves of sectarian violence have swept through the city since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.