The World’s Most and Least Livable Cities

Print Email

The Cities with the Best Quality of Living

11. Sydney, Australia
> Population: 4.42 million
> Infrastructure rank: 8
> National GDP per capita: $66,371 (5th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 62 per 1,000 (11th lowest)

Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and is the country’s center for national and international commerce, especially in industries such as banking and technology. The city has an extensive rail network to connect the city center to the suburbs and a public ferry system to get those who live on the harbor into the city. Australia has one of the highest GDPs per capita of any country at $66,371.22 as of 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund, and an unemployment rate just slightly over 5% in 2011, which is among the lower rates in the world.

10. Bern, Switzerland
> Population: 346,000
> Infrastructure rank: 25
> National GDP per capita: $83,073 (4th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 58 per 1,000 (3rd lowest)

Bern is the capital of Switzerland — and one of three Swiss cities on this list among the top ten for quality of living. According to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office, the city had an unemployment rate of 2.7% last year. Swiss Federal Railways, the national rail system and one of the country’s largest employers, is headquartered in Bern. The city also contains one of the head offices of the Swiss National Bank, Switzerland’s central bank.

Also Read: The 10 Most Expensive Cities to Buy a Home

9. Copenhagen, Denmark
> Population: 1.17 million
> Infrastructure rank: 4
> National GDP per capita: $59,709 (7th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 86 per 1,000 (32nd lowest)

More than a quarter of Denmark’s population of 5.5 million lives in the capital city of Copenhagen. The country has the highest score for life satisfaction in the OECD’s 2012 Better Life Index report. In addition, Denmark has an exceptionally high per capita GDP, as well as one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. According to Mercer’s 2012 Quality of Life study,Copenhagen has the fourth-best infrastructure of any major global city. This infrastructure rank is based on a set of factors that includes the quality of utilities, public transportation, and traffic congestion. The University of Copenhagen is the largest university in Denmark, and one of the most prominent worldwide, according to U.S. News and World Report.

8. Geneva, Switzerland
> Population: 187,470
> Infrastructure rank: 47
> National GDP per capita: $83,073 (4th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 58 per 1,000 (3rd lowest)

Geneva, called “the city of peace”, is home to a many of the world’s largest international organizations. Among the groups headquartered in the city are the World Trade Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The World Health Organization is located on the outskirts of the city. Switzerland is one of the world’s wealthiest countries, with a GDP per capita of over $83,000. Switzerland also has the world’s third-lowest adult mortality rate; 952 of every 1,000 adults aged 15 or older will at least live to the age of 60.

7. Frankfurt, Germany
> Population: 700,259
> Infrastructure rank: 2
> National GDP per capita: $44,111 (18th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 76 per 1,000 (23rd lowest)

Frankfurt is Germany’s primary financial hub. It is home to a number of important financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, the European Central Bank — in charge of monetary policy for the eurozone — and Germany’s largest stock exchange. The city is one of Mercer’s top- ranked for the quality of infrastructure; Frankfurt Airport is one of the world’s largest airports for both passenger and cargo transportation. Frankfurt is one of three German cities with a top ten ranking in Mercer’s Quality of Living Surveyand one of four German cities ranked in Mercer’s top ten for infrastructure quality.

6. Dusseldorf, Germany
> Population: 588,000
> Infrastructure rank: 5
> National GDP per capita: $44,111 (18th highest)
> Adults dying prematurely: 76 per 1,000 (23rd lowest)

Dusseldorf is the capital of Rhine-Westphalia, one of Germany’s 16 states (Länder). It is also one of the primary cities in the Rhine-Ruhr area, which also includes Bonn, Cologne and Dortmund. The Rhine-Ruhr is one of the most important industrial areas in Germany, which is the largest national economy in Europe and the one of the largest economies in the world. In addition to its industry, Dusseldorf is also one of Germany’s major cultural centers, with a well-known shopping area called the Königsallee and a vibrant nightlife.