Auckland city

It's a quality life in NZ

New Zealand cities continue to rank amongst the best and safest places in the world to live and work.

Auckland has maintained its number three ranking behind Vienna and Zurich in Mercer’s 2016 Quality of Living rankings, while Wellington remains just outside the top 10, in 12th spot.

In Australia, Sydney maintained its number 10 spot, with Melbourne at 15 with Toronto and Canada. Perth, Adelaide and Canberra all make the top 30 and Brisbane is ranked 36.

Lorraine Jennings, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader in Australia and New Zealand, said both nations provided a safe and stable environment with world-class recreation and cultural activities and readily available consumer goods for all nationalities.

"Australian and New Zealand cities illustrate a stable infrastructure, increased availability of housing and lifestyle choices that are particularly appealing to the younger generation," Ms Jennings said. "This is all good news in terms of New Zealand-based companies attracting international talent."

The annual survey, now in its 18th year, is designed to help multinational companies compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. It evaluates and compares local living conditions in more than 450 cities across the globe.

Overall rankings are based on a host of factors including political, social and economic issues, medical and health considerations, schools and education standards, public transport, recreation, availability of housing and consumer goods and the natural environment.

Mercer's survey also provides a personal safety ranking for each city, based on internal stability, crime levels, law enforcement and the home country's relationship with other nations.

Auckland and Wellington share ninth place in terms of personal safety.

Aussie cities score highly for personal safety with Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney sharing 25th place in the global rankings.


Despite economic uncertainties, Western European cities continue to enjoy some of the highest quality of living worldwide, filling seven places on the top-10 list. Vienna has held on to the number one spot for the seventh year in a row, followed by Zurich (2), Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8) and Copenhagen (9).

European cities also dominate the top of the personal safety ranking with Luxembourg in the lead, followed by Bern, Helsinki, and Zurich, which are tied for the number-two spot. Vienna ranks fifth; Geneva and Stockholm are placed jointly in sixth; and Copenhagen, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich, and Nurnberg all share 11th place.

A number of key or capital cities do rank considerably lower for personal safety due mainly to recent terrorist attacks or social unrest; Paris (71), London (72), Madrid (84) and Athens (124).


Canadian cities dominate the top of the list in North America. Vancouver (5) is the highest-ranking city, followed by Toronto (15) and Ottawa (17). In the United States, San Francisco (28) ranks highest for quality of living, followed by Boston (34), Honolulu (35), Chicago (43) and New York City (44).

Canadian cities all rank high for personal safety, with Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver sharing 16th place, whereas no US cities make the top 50.


Asia has considerable variation in quality of living. In 26th place, Singapore remains its highest ranking city, whereas Dhaka (214) is the region’s lowest.

For personal safety, the rankings for Asian cities again vary greatly. Singapore (8) ranks highest overall and is followed by five Japanese cities — Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama —tied for 32nd place.

Middle East and Africa

Dubai (75) continues to rank highest for quality of living across Africa and the Middle East, followed by Abu Dhabi (81) and Port Louis (83) in Mauritius. The South African cities of Durban, Cape Town, and Johannesburg rank 85th, 92nd and 95th, respectively. Baghdad (230) ranks lowest regionally and worldwide.

Only a handful of cities in this region place in the top 100 for personal safety, with Abu Dhabi ranking highest in 23rd place, followed by Muscat (29), Dubai (40) and Port Louis (59).

Regional geopolitics is highly volatile and characterised by safety concerns, political turmoil, and an elevated risk of terrorism.

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