November 29th, 2011
06:49 AM GMT
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(CNN) – The city of Freud, Klimt and the famed Spanish riding school is top of the pops when it comes to the world’s best cities to live in, according to a new survey.

For the third successive year, Vienna was ranked number one as European cities claimed more than half of the top 25 positions in Mercer's 2011 Quality of Living index, which awards points for a range of criteria, including political and economic stability, culture, health and sanitation, quality of schools, public services and housing.

Zurich in neighboring Switzerland came in second, while New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, was third in the list of 221 cities worldwide.

Top 10 (quality of life):

  1. Vienna (Austria)
  2. Zurich (Switzerland)
  3. Auckland (New Zealand)
  4. Munich (Germany)
  5. Dusseldorf (Germany)
  6. Vancouver (Canada)
  7. Frankfurt (Germany)
  8. Geneva (Switzerland)
  9. = Bern (Switzerland)
  10. = Copenhagen (Denmark)

Elsewhere, Canadian cities dominated the top spots in the Americas – Vancouver was rated number five overall – while Singapore was the only Asian city to scrape into the top 25. Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, was the highest ranked city in the African region (84).

At the other end of the scale, Baghdad was bottom of the list, closely followed by Bangui in the Central African Republic and N’Djamena in Chad.

“European cities in general continue to have high standards of living, because they enjoy advanced and modern city infrastructures combined with high-class medical, recreational and leisure facilities,” said Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer.

“But economic turmoil, high levels of unemployment and lack of confidence in political institutions make their future positions hard to predict. Countries such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland still fare particularly well in both the quality of living and personal safety rankings, yet they are not immune from decreases in living standards if this uncertainty persists.”

He added that the wave of violent protests across much of the Arab world this year had lowered living standards across North Africa and the Middle East – Dubai was the highest ranked city in the region at 74 – but that political and economic reconstruction in countries such as Libya and Egypt would undoubtedly boost the region in the longer term.

Egypt in historic vote

For the first time, this year’s Mercer survey also ranks cities according to personal safety, with crime levels, law enforcement effectiveness and a country’s international relations among the criteria.

Vienna was rated fifth in the list, as the top three spots going to Luxembourg, Bern and Helsinki respectively. Baghdad found itself at the foot of the list once again.

“The top-ranking cities for personal safety and security are in politically stable countries with good international relations and relatively sustainable economic growth,” said Parakatil.

“Most of the low-scoring cities are in countries with, civil unrest, high crime levels and little law enforcement.”

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soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. ytuque

    A further indication that the US is in decline

    November 29, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  2. Laughs

    Quality of life in Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Switzerland:
    - Overpaying for tiny apts
    - 200chf for private health insurance (no, your employer does not offer it), that comes with 2000chf deductible, you have to pay for doctor visits and medications, if you go over 2000chf, then you will pay 10% and the insurance company pays the rest.
    - Lack specialist doctors, hence they have to hire so many foreigners in the medical fields, yet they are prejudice towards foreigners.
    - They are not in the EU so their medical standards arent up to par with other EU countries, which means the less they have to pay medical personnels.
    - Higher pay in Switzerland only applies to anything related to banking.
    - You know why many people here rely on the public transportation? yes besides being very efficient and reliable, but mainly it is because they cant afford a car and maintenance.
    - Meat and seafood are expensive as hell, at least 2-3 times. Try paying 20chf for 1lb of sirloin. Good luck trying to find T-Bone steaks, lobsters, and cuisine diversity.
    - All shops close on Sundays except groceries located inside main stations. So yes, you are forced to stay home and do nothing on Sundays, you dont have much options here.
    - Many rules and regulations: You have to buy specific trash bags (ones with specific code for the state you are living in on them), you have to separate your trash, bottles, cardboard, clothes, anything electronic, glass, ect. You have to go to specific locations to throw those away.
    - Sales on clothes? forget it, they advertise 20% off like they are going out of business.
    Switzerland = modern communism.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  3. Laughs

    US is the best country to live in. You have so many options and great availability. Anything you want, you can find/order/have it delivered. You have freedom of press, speech, gotta love those protests! You read about crime rates and corruptions, anything can be exposed by the media. Yes it might be ugly, but at least you KNOW about it, which you can not say the same for many other countries. The government cover even more things than the US govt does. The grass is not greener.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:10 am |
  4. Ramierz

    @Laughs The things you mentioned can be found in ALL western European countries, in Canada, Australia, etc. The US is nothing special.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  5. no Laughs

    You must be out of your mind to prefer the USA to living in Zürich. The USA has :
    - decrepit infrastructure
    - nowhere to go unless you drive a car.
    - Sky high debt
    - most expensive health care in the world
    - endless litigation by rapacious lawyers
    - huge crime as a a result of enormous income differences
    - unsustainable cities. The water will dry up in the west and then it is over for cities like LA or Phoenix

    and so on.

    I prefer Switzerland to all of this.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  6. eamon

    So,"Switzerland = modern communism." Well then the USA= old fashioned dictatorial capitalism under the guise of democracy.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:40 am |
  7. Samuel

    I am glad to live in a country where free speech and goods of any kind available too, i live in Germany !

    November 29, 2011 at 8:49 am |
  8. wasso

    Oh my golly goshes, where oh where is Chennai on this most unelightened list ?

    November 29, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  9. Yvonne

    @ Samuel .. yes I agree. Germany is not madly expensive like Switzerland and is a very tolerant society in general, has really alot to offer except guns in every household. @ Laughs .. Seperating rubbish is for the long term good of the environment, guess Americans have not heard of that yet. US is in the decline, no denying .. so welcome to the REAL 1st world, honey.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  10. european

    Its quite interesting that 8 of 10 of the top ranking cities are either in Germany or in one of its direct neighbors.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  11. baldwin2113

    I love Zurich and am not looking forward to the day I'll be sent back to the US...

    November 29, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  12. Christian

    Once again an index made based on data crushing... It just has in mind economical factors. I can't speak for most of the countries but I lived in Germany and I don't consider it one of the best countries to live in. Yes it is safe and money is good, but happiness was not really there. Call this article the best infrastructured cities and it will be believable. Or better: best infrastructured cities if you are a national citizen. Germany is not known for it's "joie de vivre" but for the good services and organization. It all depends on what you base your happiness, having all the modern comodities and safety or having things like sunlight and smiling people all around. Quality of life is not mesured in dollars nor by companies like Mercer.I've been told, but never experienced, to just try to be living in Vienna being a foreigner and you'll get a picture. And that was an advise by people that actually lived there.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  13. ih8chin-k-s

    I am living in China, and everything here is like a secondhand U.S.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  14. Vroemmm

    Best city to live in.... thats really personal. I dont think it can be based on "facts" like infrastructure, etc. I would prefer to live in a city in southern France. Germany is too cold, the people are cold and very formal. I dont really like that. Its eaither Southern France, or a nice state in the USA. Like California.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  15. MissingZurich

    Dear Laughs,

    We lived in Zurich for a few years and are missing it dearly. MOSTLY, due to the close proximity to some of the most beautiful and accessible natural resources on the planet (ie The Alps). Hiking there costs exactly ZERO of those precious dollars/euros/francs that you so enjoy spending from your i-couch in the US awaiting your latest FedEx shipment (are they delivering on Sundays now?). Furthermore that cheap food you so enjoyin the US is processed crap that is slowly killing you. The quality of food in Zurich and most of Central Europe is fantastic and infinitely healthier.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:16 am |
  16. Ferrum Equus

    Oh dear. Maybe you all should come live in Macau. Income taxation is low just below 9%. Unemployment rate below 2%. No other taxes to pay. Healthcare is very cheap. As most products are made across the border in China, therefor cost of most goods a fraction what they cost in Europe. Housing is affordable. Food is not expenses. Only French or Swiss Cheese is very expensive. Anyone who has money spare has a maid to do the cooking, cleaning and washing. Nightlife is superb. Macau has good gaming similar to Las Vegas. Crime is very low in Macau and the girls a pretty and willing.
    Now...what was I say? I left Europe 30+ years ago. Now I know why.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  17. yeees

    VIENNA <3

    November 29, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  18. Sergey

    It's funny how US residents naively believe they live in the best country of the world :)

    November 29, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  19. Laughs

    @Ramierz: I live in Switzerland so I can only give my opinions about Switzerland. If the things I mentioned can be found in ALL western European countries, in Canada, Australia, etc. Then I think they should be listed also, instead of 3 cities from Switzerland.

    @ no Laughs: A car is very affordable in the US. It is true you can go anywhere in Switzerland by using train/tram/bus, but you must know the cost of ticket fares (unless you pay for a pass to get tickets at half price or an all you can travel pass for 3000chf a year like my coworker did). And then you will spend your time waiting for your transportation at each connections. Time is money my friend. There are many cities with great transportation systems in the US, plus you also have the option to own a car at an affordable price if you wish. You are not restricted, you have OPTIONS.
    Europe debt crisis? The 2 biggest banking branches in Switzerland, UBS and Credit Suisse cut thousands of jobs this year. I know people who live in Zurich and Geneva whose apts were broken into to. There are many people making very little money here, not everyone is making 120K CHF a year. However, everything is very toned down here, so the outside world thinks Switzerland is this great place to live in.

    Healthcare is more expensive in Switzerland. In the US, right now you dont need to buy health insurance. In Switzerland, you MUST have private health insurance, around 200chf a month for a 2000chf a year deductable. In the US, you would pay a copay of around $40-60 to go to your family doctor, ect. Here in Switzerland, forget it, you will pay the full price of over 100chf per doctor visit and more expensive for visits to specialists. Medications, you pay the full price. You pay everything up to 2000chf per year.

    @MissingZurich: Yea hiking costs you 0CHF, but that is all you can do here, hike and go to the mountain/lakes, getting there will cost you though. You can do all those things in the US, and you can go to the beach if you live close enough to one. Good luck finding a beach in Switzerland.

    I am living right outside of Zurich and I do not consider Switzerland to be a top place to live in. You can find good quality meat/veggies in the US and you would be paying half of what you would pay for in Switzerland. A lot of people here cook at home because eating out is too expensive and they buy a lot of vegetables because meat and seafood are damn expensive. Dont blame processed food because you are too lazy to cook at home or dont know how to differentiate healthy vs unhealthy food at the market. You can choose to eat healthy anywhere in the world, the difference is in the price.

    And yes I will sit on my couch and wait for Fedex to deliver goods I order. And I will also have food delivered to my place late in the night on a Sunday. All of this just because I simply can and have the option to.

    November 29, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  20. power4things

    All these countries enjoy that good life courtesy of USA and UK pumping trillions to rebuild Europe, so they had plenty of money to build utopias. However, they also have stricter social and public laws than USA, combined with somewhat timid, conservative populations that all but eliminate crime and tend to resist economic and social change. No overnight shipping or mail order on credit cards, but the coffee is way better and the streets are clean. Not taking sides, really; yes I'm an American. And, yes, I live in Europe. I love Vienna but sometimes miss L.A. ... you gotta have both.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  21. MissingZurich

    PPS (to Laughs)

    I did a spit take when I read your comment about the abundance of quality public transportation systems in US cities. They are abismal! Even our own government gave them a D- rating a few years back. I never drove in Ch, and miss the public transportation systems desperately in my new city. Be thankful you have them.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  22. jorge

    I think the best place t live is Portugal. In any place you live you need to be in the middle class at least. In Portuggal you have low cost food with very good quality, low rents, low health costs, wonderful climate, shoppings open all week from 10,00 till 23h . you have fresh bread everyday , and low criminality even with the crisis. You havee the sea, the beaches, the mountaiin, best roads in Europe, best resstaurants in the world at an affordable price. clthes are cheap, shoes are cheap, higien products are cheap, food are cheap. If you came out of lLisbon , the prices fell betwwen 20% and 50% in restaurants in the country syde. It is the best place to live, and perhaps the worst place to work with a business and be an entrepreneur.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  23. anna

    I have not been to any of the above mentioned cities except for the Asian cities. I agree with with you Laughs. In some metro cities, you pay for every channel you get including Singapore. But then at least in cities where options are available, it is a livable city and not dictated. It is rather sad that some Americans do not appreciate the excesses that they enjoy. Try going to Bangladesh or African nations or other Asian nations.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:43 am |
  24. bob

    Within the USA there is a state that has whatever laws/politics you want. Super conservative? Texas. Super liberal? California. And everything in between. Any other country doesn't have that range.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  25. Lausanne

    Laughs: When I moved to Switzerland 6 years ago, I pretty much hated everything. Growing up in Virginia, I was conditioned to think that the US is the best place to live and that everyone wants to be an American. Everything that was different from what I was used to (whether it be food, customs, etc) was making me so uncomfortable I preferred to avoid it. I had a hard time with Swiss people whom I found standoffish. My advice to you Laughs: make an effort and give it time! Now, whenever I travel back home, I'm able to objectively compare the pros and cons of both countries. You mention transportation: the road traffic is so heavy in CH, I don't know what makes you think most Swiss cannot afford a personal vehicle. As far as having options, you do not have any in the US - you have to own a car! Unless you're willing to do Washington-Chicago with Amtrak or Greyhound (allow 40+ hours) or pay an obscene amount of money for a plane ticket (no Easyjet there). It is true apartments may seem small and expensive for more American expats. But really, outside the Midwest, rents are comparable to Europe (but I still agree with you, it's too much money for what it's really worth here). Healthcare: I'm personally willing to pay good money for it, forcing people to buy health insurance is debatable. Food: I get sick whenever I head back home and stay away from anything that is not a family owned restaurant. Americans are talented in many areas but good food is definitely not one of them! I like how the Swiss and Europeans in general cook at home (and actually know how to) and take time to eat (I got used to the 3-hour long meals). Swiss people: Us Americans are outgoing but, let's admit it, a bit superficial. Europeans are a bit more difficult to get to but once you're a friend - you can definitely count on them. It's true Swiss people don't necessarily approach you but maybe you're not as interesting as you think after all... (it took me some time to accept that). I started taking French classes a couple nights a week - I'm still bad at it but the locals appreciate that you make the effort. Ever since, everything got a LOT easier for me. I appreciate that I can have intelligent, constructive conversations with my neighbors while my fellow Americans can only speak about sports and Hollywood gossip. Convenience: it's hard to shop on Sundays here or any day after 8pm. But there also, isn't that contributing to a high quality of life not having to work nights and spend your Sundays with your family? Depends how you look at it. Anyways, Laughs, try to make the most of your experience, keep an open mind, interact with the locals, and you will see, there are actually a few things you can learn.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  26. buzz b

    I like Earth.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  27. yesLoughs

    Loughs, you are funny, really. Sounds like you are having an awful time in Switzerland. Come back home, man.
    I lived all over the World, US is the best. If you don't believe me, go try living some other places.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  28. Domino

    power4things...I beg your pardon? New Zealand does not enjoy a good quality of life because the US and UK pump money into our country. We are on the opposite side of the world to Europe! We look after ourselves and work very hard to enjoy such a great quality of life. NZ is the most beautiful country in the world and we all know it down here. I find your completely ignorant comment rather offensive, especially as we are the only non-European country on that list. We have worked very hard to get to number 3 on that list!

    November 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  29. Seriously, people

    These types of lists sure make all the smarmy ex-pats crawl out of the woodwork... it reminds me of when I was in college and everyone came back from their semesters abroad talking about how they do things so much better in Country X, and it's a shame the US isn't enlightened enough to follow suit. "Best city to live in" is pretty subjective... I mean, what do you like? I'm an American; I have lived on the East Coast, West Coast, and Midwest. I've also lived in Beijing, St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida), Brussels, and London. I wouldn't trade any of it. Every place has pros and cons. It's arrogant to say the US is best in every respect, but really, it's just as arrogant to engage in compulsive USA-bashing.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  30. biggster

    I just love Vienna. For me the nicest City in the world.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  31. grins

    And Honolulu was ranked 29th, the highest ranked city in the US.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  32. buzz b

    To Seriously People... well put, and a well-balanced view. I too am an American and have lived both abroad – Italy, France, UK, Central America – as well as NYC, LA, DC, all of which mind you I've loved + I've also lived in the back woods of WV and PA -never made it to the Midwest. I like people and so I've found that my preferences tend to lean toward the places where I've had good people experiences... and guess what? Each place I've lived I've met great people whom I've shared wonderful times/bottles of wine and great conversations with.... and so like I said originally, I like Earth.

    Back to my third bottle of the night.

    Cheers and Shalom to all of you!

    November 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  33. montyhp

    In the US, I can do pretty much anything I want as long as it doesn't harm someone else. Individual freedoms are why the perception is that the U.S. is in decline, but many americans just have different values than europeans. Life is what you make it. You have the ability to be a high achiever or just subsist. How can anyone think it is better to HAVE to ride the bus when you can have a choice of riding the bus or driving your own car?

    I have visited nearly every region in the world and I will stay right where I am.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  34. Ripple

    Best is a matter of criteria and we all have different criteria. For me Paris is the best, and, despite all her corruption and crime, I loved pre-Katrina New Orleans. I am grateful to the growing globalization that allows us to live pretty much where we want to be (other issues aside). Viva la difference!

    November 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  35. The Lunatic

    I've lived in Basel Switzerland and Cuenca Ecuador ... and frankly, Ecuador is the better place to live. Sure, it's a third world country, but it's friendly, safe, comfortable, affordable, and you just don't have to worry about all the pressures of modern life.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  36. nothingbettertodo

    If nothing else the comments just show how subjective any rankings ban be! I personally wouldn't want to be anywhere but the big apple. I couldn't take the perfction of any Swiss city for more than a week, or the isolation of Hawaii.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  37. from Vancouver Canada

    You all keep believing that you're living in the best cities on earth. Come visit Vancouver someday.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  38. Rusty

    This study is simply a product of the criteria that the researchers arbitrarily chose to represent "quality of life." Having lived in Frankfurt, it isn't hard for me to look at the list with more than a little bit of humor. If Frankfurt residents enjoy one of the best Qualities of Life, then I'm the Queen of France.

    It's a set of fairly eurocentric values – which is fine, of course. But what if we biased toward those who prefer to drive by identifying cities with the highest overall mileage of roads within some radius? What if we biased towards cities where you were most likely to have a door held open for you? Where the availability and breadth of medical procedures available to you was more important than the overall monetary cost? Biased toward post-secondary education instead of early education? Biased toward the availability of capital for entrepreneurial ventures? Biased toward the concentration of less lofty "cultural" entertainment pursuits (e.g. sports franchies, movie theatres, etc.) instead of the traditional arts? Biased toward the availability of shopping? Biased toward the towns where the entire community shows up on Friday for the local high school's football game?

    It's fine that the researchers here decided that those values weren't the ones they wanted to highlight as being conducive for "Quality of Life," but pretending that the Eurocentric values they did arrive at were anything but arbitrary is silliness.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  39. Andrew

    That's funny, I'm a Canadian, and I see this list as nothing more than euro pushing by CNN. How could no American cities make the list. The people who made this list were obviously American hating, just like CNN likes to do. How could Seattle not make it and Vancouver does. Seattle is Vancouver without the druggies with needles stuck up their arm on every corner.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  40. Andrew

    I would think Hilo Hawaii would have made it.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  41. sean

    All in the western countries.... says a lot about who write this article....

    November 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  42. pulseplus

    The U.S. is still recovering from its horrific mistake of abandoning cities and giving itself over to the automobile. That combined with an anti-government mindset that any investment in maintaining infrastructure other than exurban highways is a waste of money has destroyed our quality of life. Fortunately, the younger generation is giving up on the suburban nightmare in favor of many of the assets that make these top-ranked cities so great, so there is hope.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  43. Andrew

    CNN picks any survey that shares their views and publishes it like it was some world wide agreement. This is some stupid little organization, "Mercer's 2011 Quality of Living index". Cnn has a fixation on Europe, but then again, what lefty doesn't.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  44. Chris

    Wow, Laughs is one of the most insecure Americans I've ever met.

    Hey Laughs, maybe ask yourself why you have to work that hard to prove that America is the best country in the world.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  45. Andrew

    I'm surprised Seattle doesn't make these lists. It has all the same characteristics as the rest of these cities. But since its in the USA the people who make this list won't include it. They'll include Vancouver and not Seattle, please, obviously an American hater who published this.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  46. Your all nuts

    So we have the USA telling the world they are the greatest. What are you up to now 15 trillion in debt. And they complain about Europe. Yes they are having a slight glitch. But lets not forget it was the greedy Americans that started all this GFC. The rest of the world allowed this to happen. America they land of the FREE. Yeah right. How many people are killed everyday because they put guns in the hands of every nut there. Their GOD given right. Take a trip to the states and everyone wants a tip {money} for doing anything. Even opening the door.

    Has anyone considered Australia, besides from paying double for most things like cars, houses, generally a very safe, relaxed, friendly place. You can go to the doctors and not have to put your hand in your pocket. If you get sick, free medical, break a leg, free medical etc. Public transport is ok, you can own a house, buy a car have a dog or cat. We have great salaries and you only tip when you get great service. In Australia there is even unlimited unemployment benefits for those lazy bums. Economy is the envy of the world they do not record debt in the trillions. They retirement age is 65,not like some European countries{Greece} that believe they should not have to work past 50. Because they are too precious and why should they have to pay taxes. That's someone else's job. So to sum up, Greece – lazy, America – Lehman Brothers, Australia – lucky country, Arab world -scary, China – amazing power house, Europe – financial power.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  47. Max

    I think there are more factors to play into all of this. Ok 3 German cities rank in the top 10 for reasons like economic stability, quality of schools ect. But I am German and I live in Germany and (no offense) we are some of the most miserable people on the planet. It may be safe here, but whats all that matter if the people are so unhappy? Dont expect a smile when walking down the street, and dont expect a helping hand ESPECIALLY if your a tourist. Maybe it has to do with the weather or the fact that most germans are overweight and therefore grumpy. Best place to live depends more on just numbers. I have travelled the world and the safest I ever felt was in Bali, because the people that make the country were so happy and friendly.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  48. wiildchiild

    Lets be serious, America began a steady decline in the early 80's. Military might and consumption became America. Head north to Canada, I work there often and it took me a long time to admiit it, but its a better place to live, it cares more for its citizens, safer cities, better education and its multi cultural platform is working, here it is not. We need to reduce military spending in America by at least 50% and we would still spend more then any country and invest in education, health care and inovation. We can pay of the debt in 5 years, but nobody want that, cant figure out why we hate ourselves and each other so much in this country.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  49. waycist

    I'm kind of partial to Boise with it's low crime, clean streets and its refreshing lack of diversity.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  50. Cici

    To the guy or gal who said living in Southern France would be nicer. I second that emotion. Every summer I make my pilgrimage from Canada to Cannes, Cote D'Azur and Provence, and baby, say what you want to say about the French, but that is the closest you can come to paradise.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  51. tom

    funny how people saying mercer was doing a pro-european study.
    mercer is an us company with headquaters in new york!
    for more read here:
    http://www.mercer.com/qualityoflivingpr#city-rankings

    the reasons why euopean cities are on top are in my opinion:
    housing is better, health and sanitation is better, low crimerates, public transportation

    November 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  52. Ray

    A lot of the cities in the list are quite boring

    November 29, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  53. Darko

    While knowing almost all of the mentioned "ideal" cities I should never change my residence (Slovenia, City of Ljubljana) for any of them.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  54. Cleeland

    Chattanooga Tennessee is really nice.. VW just opened a plant here.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  55. wiildchiild

    You have to wonder how as a indutrialized nation we have people living in homes without hydro or running water. You will not find one home in Canada that is in that condition housing people. America is not the best country in the world, we have fallen far and we can change this around, but we are not doing it. Stop military spending, its out of control.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  56. Akahn

    Vienna maybe top for living, but the people of the city have an ugly factor to them. I have yet to see any decent looking pretty people there. Plus the bar scene in Vienna totally sucks. Good news for them, Bratislava is just a short drive away. So maybe they took that into consideration as well?

    November 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  57. Tom

    Everyone who makes these lists must only check out the cities in the summer. Every one of these places get annoying amounts of snow and ice. As far as I'm concerned, that disqualifies them right off the bat :-).

    November 29, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  58. cleat

    One MAIN reason fro the lack of trains, public trans in the US is its sheer size. the only place it makes any sense at all is large cities. Healthcare? The US is exceptional in its HC quality- and price. But dont you know...Obamacare make its all "FREE" now!!!! (unless you have a job, are white, or are a natural born citizen...)

    November 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  59. grins

    And Honolulu was rated as the best US city and 29th in the world.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  60. whosurdaddy

    What are these cities in common? No Blacks no guns!

    November 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  61. Jackknife

    Well hate to state the obvious, the countries with a lower percentage of the population being black are the countries with cities that people want to live in. They have less crime, better education etc... why? Because anywhere there are many black people the country or city is destroyed. Less blacks, better place to live.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  62. pulseplus

    @cleat: Actually, the U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world and it only covers those who can afford it. Very primitive system we have. Very embarrassing for a country with so much weath. Glad Obama took the first step, but more need to happen as we evolve to realize that when one suffers, all suffer.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
  63. Parkerman

    Yeah right, I don't know what they base this on, but I would have to say its flawed. I really think it depends on who you are, what your job is and your social status. I for instance enjoy the most beautiful views in the world , clean water, top medical, access to whatever I need and live just outside Denver, Colorado. Some of my family lives in Nunspeet, Netherlands which is the cleanest little town, can bike to anything you need, trains to anywhere in Europe. It really just depends.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  64. matthew

    I wonder who made is idiotic assessment! It is a laugh really. Those assessment assume you are a Euro millionaire at lease, ha ha ha. That assessment is not for ordinary people. What a joke!

    November 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  65. Subjective

    I agree with the comment that this list is very subjective. I 've lived in a few of the cities in the list and visited others. I would still choose the US over any of these places. Sure, having the alps so close and living in an area rich in history and culture is nice, but that does not mean you will be able to live comfortably. I have a great house and can pretty much buy anything I want to in the US. Fellow co-workers in Europe (Germany, France, Switzerland, Denmark) can barely afford a single bedroom apt., cannot afford a nice car (good thing they have a great public trans. system), and cannot afford much beyond that. The alps and all those museums are great to visit in your free time. IMO great vacation spots but not quality of life.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  66. Chip

    If you ask me, the best place to live is in the country, not in a city. I was born and raised in small town USA. Later, when I went to college, I lived in a few different cities and liked it but nothing compares to the country.

    Unemployment is low, safety is VERY high (I don't lock my house or my car), the cost of living is low, and there is beutiful scenery and plenty of outdoor activities to do year-round.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  67. cleat

    sorry- i meant exceptionally (high) priced in my last post....
    and as far as obamacare.....I dont see spending a trillion dollars for 10% of Amerika is a real "good" thing....

    November 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  68. Talk Turkey

    I'd like to know the background of the experts who compiled this list. Just how objective were they? How many countries have they actually lived in? How did they come to think their criteria was universal, and not particular? How wide a representative are they? What biases informed their per-disposition?

    November 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  69. Larry L

    Interesting that all of the best places to live have strong federal governments and and relatively high taxes. The Republicans would call them all "socialists".

    November 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  70. grins

    city facts ... Honolulu residents: Asian alone 50.1%. Honolulu was rated as the top US city, 29th in the world.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  71. Jessica

    Too bad the USA doesn't even break the top 10 with one city. It doesn't surprise me. All we export are troops and jobs. Most of our schools are sub-par our infrastructure is falling apart, our political system is dysfunctional, our CEOs are overpaid and raping the country. But as long as we can mob retail stores on Black Friday and get teary-eyed over Toby Keith songs, we'll always be number one. At least in our own minds.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  72. FromDC

    @wiildchild – you sound so pessimistic, but sadly I am forced to agree with you in principal. The U.S. has a strong propaganda network that leads its people to believe we are the best in everything. After seeing medicine overseas and here, we may have the best HC for the ultra-rich but not the average person. Tragically lost a spouse to an emergency room misdiagnosis. The Euro flavor does make me wonder about the rating system, but if you look at the overall list it is really a wake-up call.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  73. Really? Really!

    Living in a city is for chumps.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  74. Brian

    What are all these socialist places doing on this list??? Socialism is evil! This must be a ploy by Al Gore or Michael Moore or someone! Typical anti-US crap!!!

    /sarcasm

    November 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  75. Dewayne

    I've been a lot of places in my life and nothing compares to life in the U.S. The difference between the U.S. and these other countries is that here in America, you can have it all. You don't have to compromise. There is a reason that so many people immigrate to the U.S., it's not by accident.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  76. more of the same

    It's just a city for Pete's sake...

    November 29, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  77. Chris King

    The problem is . . . once you've been abroad and have spent time in Europe, you are forever haunted by it and wish you were there. My children's father left Italy for the USA at 23 and has been forever torn between the two countries. When he's been back home, he misses the conveniences of the States and when back in the States, he sorely misses Italy. I've been the same and more so about leaving Boston, living 13 years in San Diego (totally different life style and culture) and now on the Olympic Peninsula in a rural area which is just unbelievably beautiful but lacking in so many other ways. I honestly don't know where I belong anymore. I've never lived outside of a large city before but I love the clean air and green environment quite free of pollution. But I do miss the hustle and bustle of large cities with all the amenities, especially the cultural aspects. So I try to appreciate what I've had, what I now have and what I might get to experience in the future. There is good and not-so-good and then downright awful all over our planet Earth.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  78. Tom

    Calm down folks....Yes I'm an American (yeah I know I can almost sense the sneers from all non-US folks reviewing the forum)......Grow the hell up .... picking on someone because of where they were born....REALLY? I'm a slob because my parents are American and thus i was born and then raised in America? Does that sound stupid to just me? Should I be slamming Germans because they were born in Germany and thus they grew up and have lived there their entire lives? Where do I want to live...well not a simple answer but it goes something like this A) Where freedom reigns...where i actually have rights and can generally do what I please (within the bounds of reason and sanity of course) , B) Where there is work....after living in the most beautfiul place on earth just doesn't really matter if you can provide for yourself or your family now does it? , C) where family is. W/o loved ones near by - I don't think I'd be happy at all regardless if it was a tropical paradise or whatever.... love that's what its all about...that has to be first in life. Everything else is of secondary importance.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  79. Nick

    Hi Laughs and Andrew, I have lived in Seattle and Vienna: NO COMPARISION. Seattle: ugly selfish people, economic oppression, terrible weather, crime and ugly architecture. Vienna: polite efficient people, a reasonable wage in comparision to the cost of living, safe living conditions. It's culturally advanced and yes, it IS truly beautiful. I'm an American who has lived in many places; so no, don't rationalize the obvious: Life is better in Western Europe. Progressivism works.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  80. cleat

    Socialism looks good on paper only. Thing is, that the left FEEL socialisim is the way to go, without ever actually living it. They FEEL that they will be able to afford/do evertyhing they do now, but with perfect "free" healthcare, perfect infrastructure, perfect, public transportation, etc... all while living in their mcmansion and affording all their toys. cant happen.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  81. Jo

    The way I see it, the top city for a person to live is the one that once you`re there, will make you feel like you could spend the rest of your life in...Of course, I`m convinced that people doing this top 25 also know that and it doesn`t make the top less useful....Living in Europe I traveled many times to Vienna and I couldn`t see myself living there, I simply don`t like it....I prefer the more..latin kind of living like in Italy or France....Likewise, I lived and worked for two years in the States...In a small town, extraordinarily polite and nice people, professionnally it was awesome and the crime rate one if not the lowest in the US...Still, after a while I almost despised the place because for a single young person you had NOTHING to do there!!! So at the end of the day, every place in Europe and every place in the US and elsewhere, has it`s positives and negatives. It`s all about your choice and it

    November 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  82. Jo

    The way I see it, the top city for a person to live is the one that once you`re there, will make you feel like you could spend the rest of your life in...Of course, I`m convinced that people doing this top 25 also know that and it doesn`t make the top less useful....Living in Europe I traveled many times to Vienna and I couldn`t see myself living there, I simply don`t like it....I prefer the more..latin kind of living like in Italy or France....Likewise, I lived and worked for two years in the States...In a small town, extraordinarily polite and nice people, professionnally it was awesome and the crime rate one if not the lowest in the US...Still, after a while I almost despised the place because for a single young person you had NOTHING to do there!!! So at the end of the day, every place in Europe and every place in the US and elsewhere, has it`s positives and negatives. It`s all about your choice and it`s far more than money and carrier opportunities!

    November 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  83. jefflazrn

    I'll take the worst city in the USA over any other city or country in the world.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
  84. Chris King

    I will add that I would love to live a year in Europe and then a year back in the States and even a few months in Canada (sans the very cold winter months). I love Montreal but remember the cold all too well from my visits. I do envy stars like George Clooney, but very few are so well off to match his addresses. Sigh. (Actually I would be happy in a very small house in that area of Italy and be able to walk down a hill and get fresh bread every morning . . . I've done it on vacation and there is nothing quite like that area of the world and/or Switzerland either . . . heavenly, but expensive.)

    November 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  85. Elise

    I think the lists are all about the typical expat. Whats interesting is if normal people go. As a single working mother from the US who was lucky enough to work out of Zurich and Mumbai and then back to New York that Europe was really special. Zurich was completely shocking as far as being expensive but the services for me and my child were amazing. Especially since we didnt speak the language. At work – mothers concerns, were considered very fairly and I had all the right balance in career and being home. The kids had amazing support and when by ourselves it was so easy to go skiing or hiking for very little money under mothers programs. The biggest downside was it was almost impossible to save anything over spending.

    When we went to India after that it was like the opposite of Switzerland, dirty and poor. But even this experience was great. Unlike Zurich, where many of our friends were Americans and the Swiss often stayed to themselves – we had 100's of Indian friends from our apartment builidng within a month. Food was cooked, children watched, activities arranged. While India had none of the social services of Switzerland – they sure do have people who look out for each other in the apartment buildings. Amazingly my son liked India more than Zurich – even though he missed the skiing.

    Back here in Brooklyn we feel like of course we have the best life style. But in a way Im happy that my son got his early education abroad. Now we live in a nice safe block. The food is cheap ,there is tons of family a few minutes walk away and after going to all these fancy private schools my son is now enrolled in a public school in New York cities award winning high school system under an engineering focus track. As a junior he will already be interning with a design company in Soho next year.

    But who knows if a Swiss or Indian person would like Brooklyn as much as we do? – probably not.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  86. cleat

    to clear it up--I have been to europe (germany, france, etc...) several times. I really do like the place, and was very glad I went, and was lucky enoug to go. But its not home. Home could be anywhere to you...

    November 29, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  87. Chris

    To all of you bashing the U.S. It's nice to be able to share your opinion huh? Particularly, because you are sharing said opinion on a news website from the US. Look up the word irony.

    It must stink to know that most worthwhile technological advances come from this country that you hate so much. We'll be in decline when you all actually contribute something to the advancement of mankind. As of right now you rely on us for entertainment, defense, scientific research, and virtually all technological breakthroughs. The very internet you are surfing came from us.

    And yes, I'm aware of CERN and other great groups in other parts of the world, but they are few and far between. Jealous much?

    November 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  88. Chris King

    BTW, I'd take Victoria, BC over Vancouver. Less crime, much smaller and just right! I live right across from there in Sequim.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  89. Cassandra Chu

    I'm surprised that the Jewish media didn't somehow weasel Israel into this list...

    November 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  90. Kyne

    Interesting that 7 out of the top ten are cities where German is primary language... and everyone who lives there and considers him- or herself lucky to do so should just shut up, enjoy their life and curse lists like this one. They attract all kinds of ungrateful folk. Americans will never understand or appreciate European culture, lifestyle and social values and all the benefits they bring. Don't bother trying. They will die believing their country offers the best there is to have.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  91. justice

    Baghdad is nicknamed the house of peace. However due to the murderous neighbors that it has, i.e : Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia, it fell to the bottom of the list. Hopefully, one day, all cities around the world make the top list.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  92. Skeiron

    To those who say the ranking was conducted by American-haters, it was published by Mercer a large American consulting firm with its headquarters in New York City.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  93. Jimbo

    Cities are overrated. Move to the country or mountains, the best quality of life can be found in these places. Nice roads and modern infrastructure is for superficial yuppies.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
  94. H

    Can I just clarify to Americans (and I do love America by the way).. that all the freedoms they have – most developed countries have those too!

    I have lived in the US and loved it, but don't understand why 'liberal' is such a dirty word over there. I love living in a liberal society. I haven't understood why 'free' (as in included in tax) healthcare is frowned upon. I dont see why I need to have healthcare insurance. I pay enough taxes, it should be included. I can pay for healthcare if I want posh fancy hospitals and skip waiting lists if I want to, but at least I have the option. I am glad that my poor neighbour will be treated just as much as my rich neighbour. Fair treatment for all, no matter how deep their pockets are, and if you dont like "socialised healthcare" theres always the option to go private!

    November 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  95. Chris

    Wow – what's with the crazy Americana hatred at the moment? Sure, there are many things wrong with the 'Land of Liberty,' but to use words like 'abysmal' and 'terrible' just reeks of ignorance. I have been living in South Florida for nearly a decade, and while it's flawed, it's far from terrible. It's full of beautiful beaches and a great nightlife – sports, music, and islands like the Keys. How are these things terrible? I'm not rich yet I can afford to experience them.

    I think the Euro snobs need to come off the high horse and take a look in the mirror. Every country is unsustainable in its present path. Every country is in a tenuous relationship with money, power, and the people. I love Europe – the culture, the history, etc., but it's all just an opinion. Countries like Switzerland and Germany need public transportation because you're paying astronomical amounts on gasoline. In the U.S., the cost is less than half that amount. And the U.S. has most of the same geographic features: mountains, beaches, vinyards, farmlands, and cities. I can see them without a passport. What about this is terrible? Flawed. Messed up. Yes. But terrible is just a stupid word to use.

    And if you don't like the U.S. Then don't come here and don't buy the goods. How many of you own a computer made by an American company? How about an iPhone? iPad? The list goes on and on while people say it's all bad yet compulsively buy them. People and opinions sure are funny.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  96. Lila

    I lived in Europe and other countries, for the most part they are beautiful but boring. I always miss the fast moving culture of the US. It is a shame our cities aren't that nice anymore though.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
  97. Jerry Swanson

    Vancouver. Canada is the best city in the world. Voted the past 10 years by the Guardian in top 5 as most liveable city.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  98. chgn66

    Munich is a fantastic city and I'm sure a great place to live. I love the place. There's not quite as much variety as we have in the US but it's just as good or better in every other area. Americans commenting on Europe who have only been to the UK or France don't know what they are talking about with Germany/Austria/Switzerland. These countries are actually very similar to the US in terms of culture. You can freely speak English in Germany with no problems.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  99. Demos

    OK, is there a conspiracy against warm climate cities? Why do you have to freeze your behind , to live in a top city? I don't get it. I think whoever wrote this article lives in Alaska dream of a top city with the same climate :)

    November 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  100. Erbs

    US is the best country to live in, and has many great cities, they cancel each other out!

    November 29, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  101. rachel

    Vienna is the greatest city I have ever been to. Congrats on the distinction once again. It is the only city I have ever been to that feels like anything is possible and an air of excellence is all around.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  102. anthony

    I agree that this is all about opinions. The US is best in my mind because I live here and love where I live. I do not begrudge you if you think germany or china or australia is the best place to live. The US has so many more options as far as where you can live. I agree SOME and even a lot of places need better infrastructure but you do not seem to get the state dynamic. States have control over a lot of infrqastructure. States have DUAL sovreignty with the federal government.(even though it is shrinking) Every US citizen has dual citizenship, that of their state and country. If you don't believe me look it up. Point is states all are different and have more control over things thatn political subdivisions in your country. SOrry that I love where I live, sorry that I think it's the best place. But you need to look in the mirror at your crumbling EURO. Non of this is sustainable. Just realize you aren't the best either and this world leaves a lot to be desired. The human species is destroying itsself.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  103. Cee

    This list lacks diversity. What happened to warm weather cities? US cities? Asian cities?

    November 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  104. want to live in europe

    What do all of the American ExPats do for a living?

    November 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  105. jason

    US might have 2 cities in the top 100. We don't build real cities any more, we build suburban sprawl and interstate highways. Although I have to say, where's Amsterdam?

    November 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  106. GT66

    chgn66: I've been to Munich many times. Awesome city and anyone who goes to Europe without seeing Munich is doing themselves a disservice. Say what you want, but the Germans know how to put a great city together. If I dropped dead at a German dinner table with a mouth full of schweinebraten and a Maß of beer in front of me I would pass to the next world in total bliss.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  107. Tonelok

    @Seriously, people
    Complete agreement. I have spent time in Spain/Portugal/France and loved every minute. Then I come back home to the mid-west, and I love every minute. They a were all fantastic, San Sabastian is probably my favorite European city I have visited. The food, the culture and the people are very different, from anti-Bush rallies in mid-2000's Madrid to my red-neck family back home, I find enjoyment in all of it.
    .
    Watching the crazy over-generalizations of Americans and Europeans is absolutely hilarious though. From fat, lazy americans that can't cook to stuck-up, elitist, communist euro's. You guys are rediculously awesome.
    .
    To whoever said that the US has crazy debt though, are you a real person? Or do you live in China and are poking fun at the western world? ALL of Europe/America are in debt trouble.

    November 29, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  108. Tonelok

    @Jimbo
    Winner. I'll take a rural house on a lake in Canada to a stuffy city anytime.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  109. ameri can

    Amsterdam should be #1. It has everything!

    November 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  110. Hoang Nguyen from Vietnam

    I agree w/ those who said this list is subjective. And I think that even our viewpoints will change when we live in different countries. Take me as an example. I live in Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. It is the biggest and wealthiest city in Vietnam but US cities are my dream cities. Public transportation is unbearable here. I have to stand 2 hrs a day on the bus to go to my university. When I commute by motorbike, traffic jam is just a nightmare. People are willing to run the red traffic light as long as they are able to. And the authority usually treat us like rubbish. I also remember watching a video about some young Africans who fled to the US, and they were so stunned about the availability of food there. If you guys understand about the plight of so many people, pls stop being so aggresive like that.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  111. GT66

    Chris: People using the word terrible and abysmal in reference to the USA are probably thinking of New Jersey or most cities that are dirty and poorly organized or the suburban blight with its miles of strip malls all half empty, or the decaying infrastructure, or the awful work-life balance or the general paranoia fomented by a government desperate to justify its insane hunger for more tax dollars to buy the latest military hardware to annihilate the guys with guns that we sold them in the first place. And then there's the healthcare... Sure there may be some cities that qualify as "nice" to look at but are devoid of quality of life unless you are rich. This is the problem our fat, pampered elitists in Washington choose to ignore when they try to white wash the state of this country to the people.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  112. Jimbo

    Why aren't warm weather cities on the lists? Because warm weather cities allow for people to live at easier without making very much money. Well built homes and buildings are not needed when it never gets cold, people can sleep shacks, fruit grows on trees. Colder climate areas are forced to create a modern atmosphere to allow for the ameneties humans enjoy like warm well built homes. In the big circle of things an economy must produce and create wealth to afford these enjoyable items. Warm climate areas can get by at the minimum.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  113. MikeMazzla

    All these lists are to be taken with a grain of salt really because what one person finds to be good for them may not be for another. if you are someone who enjoys the beach and being near the ocean you wont like Austria or Germany..as nice as they may be. I live in the US. Long Island and im sure many wouldnt want to live here for whatever reason..but I love it because of the beaches, the schools, the promximity to NYC etc. Thats my deal but im sure its not someone elses. Ive been to may of the cities listed above.. they all have there good points and bad points. You like what you like.... and to be honest my guess is a lot of people are making comments without having ever left their own country.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  114. Jimbo

    Ha, I wrote some bad sentences above....I guess I need to drink some more coffee.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  115. paul

    I am an American currently living in Vienna and I really see both sides of the argument. First of all, I am not surprised that Vienna is the top-rated city.. It is really safe and clean, there's a lot of diversity, rich history for culture and art, very efficient public transit system, great social and nightlife and finally in comparison to Switzerland it is pretty affordable.

    However, call it what you want it, but it lacks the comfort and amenities of the states. First off, my entry level accounting job pays less here than it does at my home office even including the conversion factor. On top of that, the tax rate is higher and basic goods such as milk and meat are more expensive. I understand the meat here is born and raised in Austria and it could be of higher quality but I have come to realize in general we have a higher purchasing power parity. Also I've been here for a while and still get bothered by the fact that I can't groceries past 19:00 (7:00PM) when I am working late or that my bank is only open for 5 hours a day. Just a few examples to illustrate. So if maximizing earnings and ultimate convenience aren't your primary focus in life then you can enjoy a high quality of life in a beautiful country.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  116. Neo

    In 6 cities of this top10 you speak german!

    November 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  117. w1sest

    You're welcome, Europe; for saving you from Nazi's, Soviets, and for rebuilding you after WWII. Sincerely, the USA...

    November 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  118. Sarah

    Switzerland is overrated. Foreigners even if working legally at international organizations and multinational companies are discriminated when it comes to housing allocation. Indeed, their housing system is modern communism.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  119. Snowfan

    I have traveled the world last 20 years. Asia 30-40 times, Europe 15-20 times plus I was born there, and Africa 6-7 times. I've been to each city on the list, several times, with the exception of Auckland and Copenhagen. Although all were nice places to visit I'll take San Francisco and all that California has to offer any time..

    November 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  120. Mike J

    You know, I have lived my whole life in Washington, DC and never once been a victim of a crime. I've spent probably a grad total of 30days in Montreal and my CAR WAS STOLEN. How do they calculate these numbers?

    November 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  121. Snaga

    @lausanne Appreciate your thoughts. I agree 100%. I lived in Lausanne for a few months several years ago. It is a wonderful place that I would love to return to live in. There's no denying Switzerland is expensive, but in my view its worth it. I find that knowing French in both Switzerland and France makes a world of difference in how the others accept you. As you say, it just takes a little effort.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  122. from the land

    so you mean to tell me that Cleveland, OH is not the most liveable city? we must still be under the radar, which is the way i like it

    November 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  123. CJ

    I gave no interest in living in a city. Oh, a reasonably short drive to a city is important for access to museums, plays and other 'culture' but the down side to living in a city is far greater than the up side IMO.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  124. Mark

    I'm sorry, I can't help but get a laugh at the people getting their drawers in a knot, slamming the countries that did make it, trying to rationalize for the ones that didn't. C'mon its just a list. And you do need some metrics otherwise it would be entirely subjective.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  125. MK54

    Rating bias appears to be towards large, old European cities. This suggests the rating was done by large, old Europeans.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  126. rk

    As an immigrant who has been living in the US for over 12 yrs and having seen other Europian countries, I can say that US is the best place to live (ofcourse as long as you have a decent job). Europe is nice maybe if you are traveling/sight seeing and if someone else is paying for your trip. Its so prohibitively expensive you have to loan your life to be able to enjoy life there. If you are well qualified no other country can match the salary you get in US and there is so much diversity in terms of people, Places, culture, food etc.,,,...Damn europe.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  127. CharlesLev

    "In 6 cities of this top10 you speak german!" Not really surprising.

    @jefflazrn "I'll take the worst city in the USA over any other city or country in the world." – Thank God, thats precisely one of the reasons its so nice over here in Vienna... ignorant fools like you stay in the U.S.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  128. Scott

    They should do this study again after the EU collapses and the cities are burning in anarchy.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  129. tom

    housing in ch is modern communism?
    rofl...
    gotta love it when americans talk about something they don't understand and probably never will.
    the german social market economy (or ordoliberalism), which was developed after ww2 (with the help of the us) is basically the same system like the us economy but without all the bad things.
    it's an improved us economy system with social coverage

    November 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  130. WOW

    Lots of country/city bashing going on here. Regardless of where I live, I'm glad it's not near you folks.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  131. MK54

    In the USA we can move around freely for thousands of miles and never feel like we are far from home.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  132. Kyne

    I like the conspiracy-against-warm-climates theory. Where's the city that offers ALL the comfort, including T-shirt weather all year around?

    November 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  133. Cee

    @CharlesLev: Yea that is why you learned English, even though you live in Vienna. German is a dying language, only spoken in Germany, Austria, and the larger part of Switzerland. Keep trashing the US, we are arrogant but Europeans are EVEN more arrogant, also keep buying US products and technologies.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  134. Robert

    @ Chris "How many of you own a computer made by an American company? How about an iPhone? iPad? The list goes on and on while people say it's all bad yet compulsively buy them. People and opinions sure are funny."

    I hope you realize that the iPhone, iPad, and most computers these days, are assembled in China, not the USA.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  135. ToldUso

    The list is flawed- where's Newark??

    November 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  136. Torontonian

    I love Toronto!

    November 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  137. Avoid Calvinist Cities

    I agree with Buzz B that it's the people in the city that make the key difference. Places like Switzerland and The Netherlands (where I currently live) may have excellent employment, infrastructure, public transport, etc... but are populated by culture shaped by one of the most repugnant figures in moral history: Jean Calvin.
    Calvinist tenet #1: Total Depravity (a.k.a. “Immorality”) – that every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin and does not possess the free will to do anything about it. Calvinist tenet #2: Unconditional Election (a.k.a. “Arrogance”) – that before God created the world, he chose to save some people according to his own purposes, the 'elected'. Experience has shown me that the resulting combination of Immoral + Arrogant people makes for particularly unpleasant neighbours / co-workers / shop assistants / doctors / lawyers, etc.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  138. John L

    I've been everywhere and everywhere is great, if you have money.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  139. Cascades Hermit

    Just sitting here grateful that the Pacific Northwest of the US was left out...we have too many people here as it is. But then I live on some acreage way way out from any city.....cities? bah you can have'em. Of course I love Paris..who doesn't??

    November 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  140. Paul Fielder

    NEWS FLASH – The top place to live is NOT in a city.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  141. binny

    The very BEST place to live... anywhere you can earn a decent living, have good friends, pursue your interests and live without fear. I would wish that for everyone, no matter the nation.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  142. NoCity

    Forget any city. I'll take the peace and quite of country living outside Smalltown, USA. Everyone looks out for everyone, no crime, you can see the stars at night and hear the owls. Anything you want in the world is just a click away, too.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  143. rick winquest

    Take notice that the best cities to live, have the Highest QUALITY OF LIFE are from the countries that all have National Health Care in place. The results speak for themselves.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  144. Martin

    I think it is almost impossible to compare quality of life across cities in different parts of the world. It very much depends on criterions you set. I have lived in Vienna, Sydney, Frankfurt and now I live in Prague. So I can compare pretty well and have to say that each city has its pros and cons. It depends on your personality, preferences and life priorities: Vienna has very good transportation system but people are a bit cold. Sydney has pleasant climate but Aussies are hard to get to and business-minded. Frankfurt has high living standard but with city gets empty at 6pm. Prague has great beer and beautiful women but people do not smile at you and still rush..It really depends how you look at it. The main thing is being able to adapt to local way of living and than you are happy.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  145. swohio

    Gee, the first appearance of a U.S. city on the Quality of Living list comes in at #29...and that's Honolulu, a notoriously expensive city to live in. Plus, there are NO U.S. cities on the Personal Safety Rankings list. And yet people from all over the world apparently want to come to the United States...??

    November 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  146. Chris

    GT66: Completely disagree with the last sentiment. I live on a teacher's salary in the state of Florida (where the rich really live), and I enjoy everything about it. The Keys, with its aqua water and beachlife, Miami, with its art deco culture, Palm Beach Island, with its cool Gilded Age History, St. Augustine, with its old Spanish influence are accessible to me. The myth that you need to be rich is absurd. Just two summers ago, I moved to New Orleans for a couple months to explore that area. I did it by simply saving my money. Of course I'll never live like the elitists, but I never deluded myself into believing that the American Dream was all about mansions and expensive vacations. I work for my living and take my relaxation as it comes. My home and my job are part of that experience.

    It's not an all or nothing experience. It's perspective and execution. If you want something you go get it. And while I love Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, it's not offering a system that is enticing enough to make me leave 12 months of warm weather. It sounds like you've found something special there – good for you. Just not how I see it.

    Which, by the way, warm weather places are completely off this list. How many have lived in the Big Easy? How about Savannah? Or what about a place like Boston or Key West? These places are amazing, despite bad public transportation. Besides, it's not we don't have trains and public buses. Take them if you need them. I still don't see how ones is better – just offering different things to different people.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  147. ygh

    Americans are so susceptible!

    We're not the greatest country in the world, time for us to accept this fact, tone down the arrogance, and maybe perhaps even learn from other countries...

    November 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  148. tom

    ahah "German is a dying language"
    you don't even have a clue about your own language!
    the english language is a west germanic language!!!!
    most of the brits have a german dna. they are more or less german. in fact "angel saxon" (the saxons are from lower saxony, germany)

    November 29, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  149. Quinn

    @Your all nuts (it should be you're by the way)...your comment is laughable. The greedy Europeans rode the gravy train until it derailed too...Royal Bank, Swiss Bank, Credit Suisse...all major players in the sub-prime market and part of the reason the economies of several European countries are on the verge of collapse. I have lived all over the world and have my favorite places based on things that I consider important. But America will always be home, for good or for bad, because that is where my family is. And for all the problems we Americans might have, we give freely and gladly when another country is in need.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  150. Jerry Swanson

    Hey Andrew are you a little insecure? You say you are Canadian which I doubt with all your bravado about Seattle and the USA. Suck it up princess, Seattle has never reached any rating whereas Vancouver for the past ten years seems to have always come in within the top five cities in world wide publications as one of the world's most liveable cities.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  151. T-shirt weather all year around

    Kyne, if you can put up with limited job opportunities mainly in government or finance and a conservativism to rival Texas, then Brisbane Australia probably come closest to a 1st world all-year T-shirt city. Although the ONE week in the middle winter when the temperature drops to 15 degrees celsius may require a sweater for the slightly less hardy.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  152. whatdothesecitieshaveincommon

    What these cities have in common is the fact they are all in countries flag waving 'america can do no wrong I like being poor' americans would call 'SOCIALIST LEANING' ohhhhhhhh. Maybe learn something?

    November 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  153. whatdothesecitieshaveincommon

    Its funny that when effieciently run cities and countries are living proof that caring more for citizens than corporate charters can work there are still folks that will deny it.... to their own detrement. Stupidity shall be the death of us all

    November 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  154. Scott

    America would be a lot better if we had let the uneducated, uncultured south secede during the Civil War.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  155. Tigresse

    This list is subjective and based on a certain set of criteria that are especially western oriented. At the end of the day, we as individuals need different things to be happy and so while this list and some of the cities on it mights suit some, there are others who would find some of the cities mentioned not conducive to good living. Germans and the Swiss pride themselves on efficiency and public safety but there is more to life than that. Certainly quality health, education and transportation services are important, but then again, what about the cost of rent and food? If costs are sky-high does that equate with a superior quality of life? I think many would say this is false. Cities have a demographic history to them, with neighborhoods rising and falling out of favor and so it is with this list. Take it all with a grain of salt; after all, life is what you make of it and much of that has to do with the people and relationships you forge, not place or location.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  156. AgentG

    Laughs: I agree completely with your assessment. However, it is incomplete. Lived in Switzerland for over a decade and was married to a Swiss with Swiss/American kids. My final analysis: Switzerland is a great place if you have wealth. If you do not have substantial equity (savings, real estate, etc.) then it is damn hard to survive there. Most people cannot survive on their salary alone, but this is never spoken about. You need to have some investment income to afford the luxuries that most people have. The wealth in Switzerland comes from inheritence and not wages and most people lie about this. Also, you are not really part of the community until you own property there, even though about 70% are renting. If you have the wealth, can afford to own a nice house and car, take 3-4x 2-week vacations a year, have a second or third vacation home in the mountains (all our Swiss friends lived like this), then it is a grand place. In other words, you have to be established there over several generations. But if you have this kind of wealth, then living most anywhere is grand. So, this list is bogus, it really depends on your situation and how much of the location you can enjoy.

    November 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  157. Jesse

    people seem to forget that ignorance is bliss.... if you don't go to other countries and know the differences between them and see them for yourselves..... wouldnt you be happier in the long run rather then not knowing it in the first place???

    November 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  158. Dan

    Living in my native San Diego which I love dearly but given a choice would love to reside in Germany...I thought Koln had everything. Switzerland seemed too unaffordable

    November 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  159. Swiss Lover

    Switzerland is one of the best countries to live and study. PERIOD!

    November 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  160. USA didn't win the War in Europe

    Dear w1sest, it seems you never heard of a small episode in WW2 known as the Battle of Stalingrad. It was the Soviet victory in this decisive battle which changed the entire dyanamics of the war and sent the Nazi's home where Soviet (not American) troops found Hitler's body in his Berlin bunker. Sincerely, Russia.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  161. LJB

    This must be the new Canadian/German way of counting: Vancouver was rated number five (5) overall

    Top 10 (quality of life):
    1. Vienna (Austria)
    2. Zurich (Switzerland)
    3. Auckland (New Zealand)
    4. Munich (Germany)
    5. Dusseldorf (Germany)
    6. Vancouver (Canada)

    Mercer Quality of Living Survey – Worldwide Rankings, 2011
    5. Düsseldorf Germany
    5. Vancouver Canada

    November 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  162. SMAn

    I have black tenants that are respectable people (both work and are Jehovah Witnesses), however, they are still slobs and somewhat lazy...I really have to be tough with them when it comes to cleanliness and noise. But many, many blacks are worthless lazy humans that refuse to work hard and will destroy a city quicker than WWII...

    November 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  163. SMAn

    To USA didn't win the War in Europe
    Russia did most of the grunt work, true; but you have to remember that Eisenhour gave Berlin to the Soviets. Patton wanted desperately to go Berlin and finish off Hitler himself but Eisenhour knew the human cost would be too great so he gave it to the Russians.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  164. Huge Mustache

    I'm just home from Europe and I have been to Vienna many times. Vienna is medicore in everything and boring. The greatest thng about America is the diversity of goods and services. Yes we are a consummer society but we are still the envey of the world. Go to an american grocery store and look at the choices you have. If you live in a small apartment in a European city you trapped. How much coffee can you drink and how many fancy pastries can you eat? After that there is nothing to do. I like Paris actually its gritty and elegant at the same time. Berlin is also a nice city but way to big. All in all
    I'll take America. Europe has to many rules and customs. I like the fact I can compete and make my life better. Soccer is boring. I have a car, a truck, a motorcyle and a plane here in America. In Europe they have nice trains. I wish we had them. But, the convienence of having your own car is a luxury in europe. a nessesity in America. All in all America is better. Europe is not sustainable. Too many people on the public dole and not enough working people. Everyone in Europe wants and expects to be taken care of by the State.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  165. Lee Von Hart

    to Laughs: don't worry what the Euros say, they always look down their noses at the States. Yet it is true we have plenty, which seems like too much at times and the Euros eat fresher less processed food agreed. Oh haughty ones, we do recycle and compost and care! Don't believe our crazed media all the time. So listen those who like Agenda 21, scram!! Word is spreading. democratsagainstagenda21.com.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  166. Balthazar

    Well the main difference between USA and Europe is, in USA the culture is missing. The cities are mostly hudge and impressive but its just for the eyes, you get the impression its just for showing off, in the end its all about burger, movies and flags..no real culture to see behind all this show..

    Also this hudge cities are totaly uncomfortable and the transportation system is a mess..everything is far..

    November 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  167. Charles Beale

    I've been to Auckland...the city is depressing!

    November 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  168. badcyclist

    I am starting my own worst places to live list, based scientifically on self-interest. The worst place to live: San Diego. Worse than Baghdad. Whatever you do, don't move here– and if you live here now look at all those great cities on the Mercer list. Move to one of those and you will be much happier.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  169. Lee Von Hart

    Don't let Agenda 21 action spread all over the U.S. like it has Europe. And we do recycle and we know our processed foods stink, we're getting better. Americans are good eggs, good sports, and our media does not represent the majority of folks who are humble and hard working. I personally love Europe, Salzburg and Bermuda in particular, but honestly the countryside of Vermont, Pa, Delaware and the southern Jersey seashores are magnificent.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  170. Jamie

    @Mark.

    Agreed – it is amusing. Fact is you could be living in a city that rates high based on their metrics but if you happen to have bad experiences there or just different sensibilities you may not be sold on it regardless. Several of my college friends moved to NYC after graduation and rave about it but it just doesn't appeal to me to live in. I prefer West Coast cities like Vancouver and San Francisco with their scenic beauty and more temperate climates.

    @Chris

    While I don't care for the wholesale American bashing that I see all too often, arrogant posts like yours are equally obnoxious and just create a vicious cycle.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  171. Max

    I lived in many different places in the whole world. And i can tell you that Vienna is definitely the best place to live on this planet. It´s the most beautiful city in the world, where you can find anything you need.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  172. AgentG

    The Mercer personal safety list also puts Switzerland cities at the top places. These Mercer lists are for white executives and advanced professionals who are in the top 5% earning bracket. It does not really apply to average workers, even college degreed and highly skilled.

    My experience has been different regarding racial treatment. As a darker skinned American professional, Switzerland was the only country I have ever been to where I have been verbally and physically attacked on several occasions because of my foreign-looking appearance, despite being fluent in the local language and married to a Swiss. It is a great place if you are white and blonde, but even if you have dark hair as a white person, they call you a black in their native tongue. Also, after acquiring wealth as a darker foreigner, the racists really came out of the woodwork. Just saying, it depends on your perspective.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  173. Bo

    Vienna, Austria #1? Google "Aeryn Gillern" for evidence to the contrary.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  174. podunda

    Vienna waits for you ...

    November 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  175. plentyVV

    but my teacher and pastor always said that everyone in the world wants to live in AMERICA and become an AMERICAN?

    November 29, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  176. gtrails

    I love these polls. they always list all the "greatest places to live" that people are LEAVING to migrate to the US, Canada or Australia.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  177. traveler

    Vienna? Zurich? FRANKFURT? I cannot imagine three more boring cities in the world. Vienna, go and walk around the Hapsburg palaces and see the old gothic cathedral. An afternoon. Done. Don't expect there to be anything interesting to do at night. Zurich, same story. Frankfurt, hang out with a bunch of stuffed shirt financial types. Boooring. Can't imagine how the world's most vibrant and exciting cities where things are actually happening and people are creating new things aren't in the top ten. London, New York, San Fran, Tokyo. Heck, but Rio and Buenos Aires in that list, too. But Vienna and Zurich. Snooze.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  178. West C. Lunatic

    THE BEST CITY TO LIVE IN IS PALO ALTO CALIFORNIA.......YOU LOSERS

    November 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  179. Tom

    I find it odd that so many people from these countries with cities listed as the best place to live, when given a chance, live in the U.S. Most professional athletes, tennis players, golfers, a lot of entertainers, etc. all have places here. I have a place in Florida and many of my neighbors are German. Makes me wonder how in touch with reality this index is?

    November 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  180. Lilly

    For so many years now we've had to keep hearing comparisons between here and some European country that seems to have impossibly great social programs and high standards of living. The reason they seemed impossible is that they generally are and now it's starting to come back to haunt them. It seemed that year after year Europeans were working less and getting more social services and the equation does not balance. Less work, means less government income and less money for social programs. European cities may not dominate much longer.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  181. Jonathan

    I've lived in Brussels, Geneva, Toulouse, Singapore and New York and would say that I loved the lifestyle most in Singapore: Amazing weather, lovely beaches, low taxes, cheap food, taxis, and lots of thing to do. The only downer is that it's so isolated – like most places in Asia or Oceania. What I love about Europe is that it's so small: if you live in Brussels you can just go for a day – or even just lunch – to Barcelona or Milan, it's all so nearby – same goes for Geneva & Toulouse. New York is New York, you just can't compare it with anything else, like Paris. What is really annoying about NY is the constant noise. I was living on the 41st floor in Manhattan, and still I was continously hearing sirenes and so forth. On the other hand, you have amazing theaters, Carnegie Hall, and the buzz of a world capital like London or Sydney.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  182. MIke

    @Tom: for example? Any names? Thanks

    November 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  183. Russell Hammond, Hollywood

    Laughs – America, the land of rampant consumerism where people buy crap they don't need with money they don't have.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  184. Bob T Builder

    Waffles hats cows midgets sheep squirrels pancakes eggs sausage telephone tv airplane wire keyboard calendar door wall cloud core moon dingo monkey

    November 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  185. PlayfulDreamer

    The only thing worse than the asinine criteria chosen for the list are the asinine comments about how "I'm better than you."

    November 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  186. Seriously

    This article must be a joke. I have been to many of the cities on this list, 3rd world nations, and across the USA. Vacations are great but there is no place better than the USA to live in. Communication = easy, Transportation = simple (Roads, Highway system, Rest area's, # of airports, # of available flights, free ferries, Bicycle lanes etc., Cost = affordable by most (yes, the 99% can afford to sit around and protest and drink Starbucks while they protest), Housing = comfortable, Government regulates that adequate heating is available to all including those who cannot pay their bills, Legal system = You have a right to an attorney and you can have one for free if you can't afford one – This list can go on but I have to get back to work – Lets add on, people speak of racism in USA. It seems that only those who experience it, speak up. I am a person of color and I have yet to be a victim of racism. I have had steady progress at work and have experienced nothing but fairness in schools. USA! USA! USA!

    November 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  187. David

    Baghdad has nothing on Brooklyn as the worst place to live. Surely Detroit would give Baghdad a run for it's money.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  188. gaucho420

    Paris will always be #1 to me. It has a certain je ne sait quoi that no other city on earth has.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  189. gaucho420

    And for those laughing at the US...laugh while you can and laugh hard, because we're coming back well before you know it.

    Bank on it.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  190. Ron

    American tax dollar provides better living and security standards around the world than in the US? ... Americans must take a good look at themselves and their politicians.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  191. Jeannie

    I belong to a social media group online, a group of Americans living in Europe. We discuss everything written here and we all sadly agree that our America is a sinking ship. The top 1% in the USA have become greedier, our country caused the downward spiral of the world economy because of our greed, health care is only available to those who can afford it or have medical insurance through their job, Obama made a small change with health care but not a big enough to help a larger number of Americans, our politicians promised jobs, jobs they promised to create 2 years before Obama was elected, instead we have them fighting each other in the Senate and Congress and not getting anything done, they allow companies to outsource jobs or import help to work for lower wages. It took my husband and I 12 years of working hard, working anywhere from 1 to 3 jobs at a time to get a house, a car and a few nice furnishing only to end up losing it all when he lost his job. He found a job in Norway, we have been living here 2 years, and in that 2 years we have a house, a car and nice furnishing...........what took us 12 years to achieve in America, took us 2 years to achieve in Norway........despite their high tax, the income is better and they have a national health care system. I think America could learn ALOT from Norway and other countries in Europe. America has to start caring MORE about its average citizen and stop giving in to big corporations, and others that have only their interests at heart. We need our government to start caring about our citizens before it is too late!

    November 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  192. Laughs

    @AgentG: I didn't even want to go into owning a house in Switzerland! I know I will not be able to afford it. I make 80,000 CHF a year and I can't afford to live comfortably in Zurich. Technically, I could, but I would be living paycheck to paycheck. My boyfriend makes less than me in US and he can afford a 200k house, eat out, drives a nice car, invest in 401k, and still be able to save money each month.

    I think Zurich is quite boring. From October to April, there is a cloud of fog hovering over the city. You don't get much sun, which makes the city too depressing for me.
    I agree with people who think Australia should have made the list. I visited family in Cabramatta, 30 min from central Sydney, and really enjoyed it, quality food, not too cold in the winter, good healthcare, but expensive. Singapore is a contender from Asia, clean city, great food, but again expensive.

    I might have came off too strong with the anti-Switzerland rant lol but it is such a bummer not at least 1 US city made it on the list. But then again, it is just a list. We should appreciate the US more, just saying.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  193. JRG

    @MK54 – you nailed my sentiments exactly, well said. i'm not well traveled outside the US. so have nothing to compare to. home is where the heart is.

    November 29, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  194. Vanguard Economist

    Good luck trying to start a decent business or even think about reaching financial freedom in Europe.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  195. Willow

    Most Americans have no idea how small most European countries are. Texas is bigger than many European countries. I was in Germany for three years, didn't like it. People were very cold and rigid. Could not stand the French. The Netherlands were nice, very environmentally conscience, nice people. High cost of living.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  196. MyTake

    @ytuque: Start thinking for yourself. The US is not in decline ... or not in a permanent decline depending on how you look at it. This is a large correction in the economy based on an overheated housing market that is only now just starting to rebound. The US fundamentals are sound.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  197. Tim

    @Laughs – "Anything you want, you can find/order/have it delivered"

    This is EXACTLY what is wrong with the US.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  198. syed alam

    Very interesting! I believe all we should travel these listed cities and justify the idea of living! Of course travelling schedule should be every season around. If you visit Calgary in the winter and then travel to Singapore you will realize the scenario quite differently.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  199. MIT

    And it would have been New York City, if it weren't for those meddling kids

    November 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  200. nci

    If german has freedom of speech, then display a swastika in public or stfu

    November 29, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  201. Asgehir

    CNN ran a story saying Seoul is the world's bet city a few months ago. Now it's not even listed.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  202. Leo

    I had a friend from USA for visit in Germany for some weeks and know she is thinking of leaving the states to start a new life here..

    November 29, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  203. Dan

    Vienna is a beautiful city, although very expensive.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  204. LoviCali

    After reading a substantial number of these comments, I just wanted to respond to the best place to live in the world. I believe that the location for nirvanna is Southern California. Having travelled and spent time all over the world for 12 years, I landed for good in Huntington Beach, CA. I have been all over Europe and spent a lot of time searching for the best place to live. HB has all that I desire in life. The south facing beach provides great surfing all year long. I can easily find any food item locally from 6am until midnight. The big cit,y Los Angeles, is 30 minutes close by car. I own a speciality business, and can procure any supplies locally. The nifgr

    November 29, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  205. Jeannie

    I might add too that in that 12 years we worked our rears off to afford a house, a car and nice furnishings in the states, we never took a vacation. My husband got 2 weeks paid vacation, but I did not have any paid vacation. If I wanted time off for a vacation it was without pay. We could never afford a vacation in the states. Our first year in Norway we had a 3 week paid vacation and we drove all over Norway to explore. Our second year in Norway my husband got 5 weeks paid vacation and we took a rode trip through 6 countries!! Not having a vacation for 12 years has sure paid off. I feel sorry for my family back in Minnesota, they are all working hard, struggling to make ends meet and no vacations. I am trying to save up now to bring them over to check out Norway......they could have a much better life here.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  206. Neo

    @Jeannie
    I know that 1-2 weeks paid holiday in 1 year is kinda standard in the US, while 4-8 weeks paid holidays is usual in europe..

    November 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  207. Cujo Bendi

    People in the USA are brainwashed into believing they live in the "best" place on earth. It ain't bad here but dang, there are tons of other place to live on earth that are quite nice. It's a give and take.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  208. Cujo Bendi

    @ LoviCali, Huntington Beach is a suburban DUMP.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  209. Vienna??

    @Bo: for perhaps even stronger evidence to the contrary about Vienna, Google "Josef Fritzl".

    November 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  210. treblemaker

    Home is where the heart is, period. I've been to every corner of North America, and I have been to every state in the USA. I've never been across the ocean (except to Hawaii). I have no opinion of the other continents; I'm sure they are great places to live, also. But for now, I am in Canada for personal reasons. My experiences of 20 years of traveling and living in different states have shown me some very important things that are never mentioned. You have only 24 hours in a day, why spend many of them in ridiculous traffic situations, going from point A to point B. Money is wonderful to have, but without friends and family you could be in the South Pacific and be miserably lonely. Every place has their ups and downs. Great culture is great only to experience, but when you go home at night, being with someone that you love is the greatest thing of all-you try make the best of life no matter where where you live. The grass is not greener on the other side. You have to take yourself with you no matter where you go.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  211. brian

    this list is crap

    November 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  212. JosefBleaux

    Americans are lazy, greedy, uncaring materialistic snobs for the most part. Our cities reflect that. In London for example, you don't see mentally ill older people living on the streets homeless. Nor do you see that in most modern European cities. That, and the fact that self-serving crooked politicians are ruining this country make me wonder why people don't move to Canada or Europe.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  213. Martina

    I'm european living in the US. I love Europe for its culture and diversity and I love the US for its natural beauty and because everything here is easy and convenient. There is no one place that is perfect for everyone. Switzerland is a suspect though. There is no way a country, where the companies tell the employees what underwear to wear, could be the good place to live.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  214. GotThumbs

    Re: Laugh:

    Its clear to all reading your comments, that you are one of the many ignorant Americans who have not traveled beyond your boarders and really have not clue about what your saying. I was born in Canada and have lived in the US for most of my life. My parents immigrated here and my brothers and I have done well for ourselves. We're NOT foolish enough to spout off that the US is the 'Land of the Free' Like it or not, the US is so backwards in many ways. Obama was even dumb enough to slight Canada about its national health care system. Saying the US can do better....well 'REQUIRING' all Americans to purchase insurance is probably one of the easiest and dumbest uses of brain power to come up with. Yet it will not be enforceable and still the US will have MILLIONS of its citizens lacking access to a real 'National Health Care' system. Just more talk and no action from its leaders. There is opportunity in the US for anyone willing to work hard for it, but you also have to deal with the lazy have-nots that choose to do nothing for themselves...while expecting those who are self-reliant to support them. just look at the OWS groups. What a waste of time. I did not work hard to adopt the lazy people of the US society. I'll move back to Canada if it continues down the path of taking for those that do for them-selves and giving to the lazy people of the US society.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  215. marielies

    Right on!!! Vienna is the best city to live in and will always be. The music! The food! The wine! The nearby mountains! the pastries! The people!! The healthcare system! Public transportation! The beauty!!.................
    I lived there for a few years and am ready to go back forever.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  216. mike

    Look at all these great cities in countries that the t-baggers love to think are socialist hellholes. But keep on trying to drag America back into the 19th century, you fools...

    November 29, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  217. pokalot

    northern california – cool people, beautiful place.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  218. Laughs

    @GotThumbs: Have you ever lived in any of the cities listed?
    If Canada is so great why did your family moved to the US? Yes there are lazy people in the US, but there isn't any in Canada or any other country right? Now you are putting Canada on a pedestal. I am living in Switzerland and I listed specific comparisons to why I think the US is a better country to live in. You blame our health care system and the lazy people? oh c'mon on, who is ignorant here?

    November 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  219. saudi-US

    I am from Saudi and I have traveled the world I went to France, Singapore, Egypt, England, Malaysia, Australia, Dubai, and so many other cities before I came to the US for school. I came here in 06 and I was so scared ppl will hate me bc of 9/11. I was treated very nice with respect of who I am, I like the lows here where everyone has the right to practice believes and thoughts. I also like that u have the 4 seasons here in US and there are 50 states that each one has its own features so u can visit. I am so happy I made the right decision to come here and now I am married to the most amazing lady from OH who never been in a plane  and we have the most adorable baby ever. The only thing I don’t like here is the healthcare costs. For those who regret LIVING here be thankful you are in a great country.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  220. Btangos

    Paris is really the most fabulous city i've ever seen.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  221. Richard

    Somebody once said "Switzerland is a rose...without thorns....and without flowers." It's pretty funny. Not absolutely true, but there is a grain of verisimilitude there. They can be humorless, self-satisfied bores sometimes. I go there at least once a year, and it's very beautiful. I love it all: from the alps where I stay in Saanen to Zurich to Montreux. I only wish some of the USA-bashing Swiss had the sophistication to visit the US. Usually, it's the parochial Europeans that have the most to say and the least knowledge to back up what they're saying. I've been to Vienna many times. It's an incredibly boring city, a real snooze-fest. The food is horrendous. The Viennese idea of sushi is tuna, and that's it. Practically like buying galoshes in Ekaterinberg during the communist regime. Here in Connecticut, I can order fifty varieties of sushi, and of course in New York City, which is a thousand times more exciting than Vienna. The USA is still the best place to live. The most fun, the most diverse, and the most expansively beautiful and different. The best food in the world is in France. You just can't touch the French for cooking, I don't care how snippy they are. They sure can cook. Swiss restaurant food is expensive and generally awful. I had a 160chf meal in Zurich in October that I swear was wildebeest. Or shoe leather.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  222. Cujo Bendi

    @ JosefBleaux... What planet have you been living on??? I got back from Madrid and Paris and San Sebastian about a month ago and Paris and Madrid are crawling with beggars and people on the Metro carrying on conversations with people who are not there! I bet you've never even left the US, you goon.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  223. rich

    Mendoza in Argentina–great food/wine-outdoor activity-reasonably priced

    November 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  224. whatdothesecitieshaveincommon

    @seriously. You just also described Canada, but here you can also get the health care you need, smoke lots of good bud, and apparantly we can keep our oil too! haha :) Love 'merica too though. Just the things you listed aren't so unique to you.

    November 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  225. Sy2502

    LOL at European cities being the best places to live!!! Europe is in the middle of a recession, must be hella fun to be in right now!

    November 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  226. American-in-Dusseldorf

    That's funny. I live in Dusseldorf (have visited more than five places on the top 10) and there's no way US cities should be left off this list. CNN, you're using the wrong criteria to select these cities. Why is it that damn near every Euro I work with wants to go to the US? The sheer convenience and opportunity in the US is astounding compared to living here. Just being able to shop on Sundays, eat out after 10pm, have an amazing selection of foods to choose from, real entertainment options,...I can go on and on. But living here in Germany, I feel quite limited in options. I can choose from going to the park, going to a museum I've already visited, or going to freeze my ass off and drink a beer staring at a river with tons of smokers around me. And mind you, there won't be any music playing b/c it's dead here. What's ironic is that while I'm in Germany, I see countless examples of them selling "American lifestyle" to get people to buy their food, clothes, music, entertainment, etc.

    If these people are trying to emulate modern America, then why in the hell is this the best place to live?

    I have never felt that way in the states. I'd rather live in a middle-of-the-road US city (Tampa, Houston, etc.) than to live in Dusseldorf. This list is nonsense. If you're an ex-pat like me, I hope you heed my warning before you take of these lists as gospel.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  227. Chris

    Jeannie: Think about what you're saying. A group of ex-pats gather around a table and reaffirm for each other what you already think. Of course you're going to agree with one another. I teach in a public school and don't feel nearly as pessimistic as many of your friends sound. It's bad – but what country isn't flawed? Do you really trust Merkel more than Obama? Is there a politician that leads any major industrial country that evokes your trust? Doubt it. My government may stink, but it still allows me to express myself, to work where I want, and to live where I want – if I can afford it.

    For the record – I don't think the U.S. is super-duper better than all the rest. But the whole "the U.S. is in decline" slogan from some of you is pretty funny. What's it based upon? What historical reference do you have?

    November 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  228. Jeannie

    LOL at Sy2502.............where have you been? The U:S:A. is in a DEEPER recession than Europe and we have been in it longer than they have been, PLUS our country started the whole spiral down for the whole world! Still laughing?

    November 29, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  229. Paul

    @American-in-Dusseldorf
    "Why is it that damn near every Euro I work with wants to go to the US?"

    Im In Cologne and I dont know just 1 person wanna move to US, but I know some americans wanna move to europe!

    Over all the salarys are higher in Germany than in the USA, did you know that? May be different in a few branches..

    November 29, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  230. jagadeesh

    This survey is applicable for only rich people. They don't need to worry about health, food, living costs etc... For common man every city/country comes with issues which they fight/balance everyday.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  231. Jeannie

    Chris: Try expressing yourself on the streets like the 99% and see how quickly you get arrested. Our country is quickly becoming a police state...........we are losing our freedoms little by little. We've heard the country with the "American Dream" is Denmark. Wonder if the millions of unemployed Americans would agree right now that our country is a great country to live in. Millions that have been unemployed for 2 years or longer......a few have said that everyone should be thankful for what they have.....being thankful for what you have will not pay the bills, pay the mortgage, feed the children.............

    November 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  232. American-in-Dusseldorf

    Paul, are those Americans visiting or staying? I think it makes a tremendous difference. Look, I get paid pretty well. I really can't complain financially...but I know the value of a buck and it's a completely different system out here, admittedly.

    Just think it's easy to "fall in love" with the Euro lifestyle moreso than it is to actually gut it out and live here long term. BTW, when I say live in an area, I'm assuming I have a good-paying job. That's why I would rate a number of Euro countries higher than Germany. I'm talking more about lifestyle than business.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  233. Jeannie

    Paul you are right.........things may be different here in Europe than in the states, but in some countries like Norway and Germany, life is easier........may be boring.....you may not be able to find some things you are used to buying ....but life is easier, the pay is great, medical is free or very affordable, less stress and worry over bills. My husband and I had high blood pressure and heart palpatations from all the stress we were under in Minnesota.......since we have been here.....our blood pressure has returned to normal...not a single heart palpatation.....we even laugh and smile which I cannot remember us doing the last 2 years we were in Minnesota.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  234. Jeannie

    Many Americans are moving to countries in Europe for a better life.....which includes medical. Last time I checked there were over 30,000 living in France, 10,000 in Norway and growing. We are adding new Americans to our group each month......one American that worked on a submarine called home and told his buddy to come over for a visit and check out Norway. He made the visit and about a month ago he moved to Norway, better pay, easier life style, and other great benefits.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
  235. Jeannie

    Chris: In Norway they just as free as in the states.......they more freedom than we Americans do in "expressing" themselves.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  236. Paul

    @American-in-Dusseldorf and Jeannie
    Well you are free to leave europe and life the american way of life, everybody how he likes it, thats our privilige we have in the first world..Germans at all love to travel, same like dutch people, both nations travel more than any other in the world..you will find a german anywhere in the world, even in the last village in africa, not just because its better there but because germans love adventure and other cultures..

    This comes from having much vacation time and money. I know some americans they are working their ass of with 1-3 jobs a day and 1 week free time a year..so this is not speaking for real life quality and thats why they are thinking to completely move to europe..Also I know a person in Miami, they dont even have a metro in most parts of the city there, without a car u cant go anywhere and the streets are mostly empty of people..

    November 29, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  237. Jeannie

    boy I had some serious typos in that last post........In Norway they are just as free as Americans....they are free to express themselves (they have MORE freedom to express themselves than we do in the states), they can work where they want, and live where they want – if they can afford it.

    November 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  238. Ignorant human being

    DUMB!!!

    November 29, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  239. American-in-Dusseldorf

    Paul, Agreed and it seems like everyone on here is fairly privileged. My posts are not really meant to be jabs at Europe. I LIKE it here. I just like it back home better ;)

    Two different versions of lifestyle. I just think it's a very distorted view if there's not even one US city. That's silliness

    November 29, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  240. Joe Trottley

    For all the Europe and America haters on both side out there, the key point is that this survey measures quality of life along certain dimensions that happen to favour European cities over US cities. I've lived in both the US and Europe, and there are clear differences. European cities are, on average, cleaner and safer than American ones. Infrastructure tends to be better. And social welfare systems provide on average better healthcare and education (note that the key phrase is "on average").

    However, these don't necessarily mean that European cities are better than American cities on other important metrics that may have been under-represented in the Mercer survey. I think most people would agree that the European cities in the top 10 are very pretty, but pretty boring. Most are comfortably "stuck in the past." Anyone who's worked in Europe knows that advancing in a job can take years of effort, and doesn't necessarily have much to do with your abilities. The Swiss, in particular, can be painfully conservative. What region in Europe can compete with New York or London in terms of "opportunity?" On this metric, Europe is way behind. Also, American's excel at "excellence." Where Europe is better than average, America excels.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  241. Excellence

    @Joe Trottley: America still excels in certain industries yes, but there are numerous German companies which also convey a strong sense of "excellence": Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Miele, Siemens, Bosch, SAP, DHL, etc...

    November 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  242. David

    Joe Trottley

    Well it depends on what you understand on "boring" and it depends on the city and country. If you are interested in culture, theathers,museums, art and history you are better preserved in europe. I have visited the club scene in america and europe as well and I liked the europeans a lot more..they have giant technorave and clubbing islands like Ibiza i couldnt find in the US..

    November 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  243. treblemaker

    Americans deserve the country they get. I can safely assume that most of the "occupiers" were part of the record "Black Friday" shopping spree at the big box stores that make their profits on the backs of the "slave" labor that they so railed against. The craving for the best deal trumps everything else. The hypocrisy is monumental. We are all capitalists, no matter where we live. At least the USA is unapologetic about it. Everyone forgets the simple premise of the USA-we have the right to life, liberty, AND the pursuit-not the guarantee-of happiness. That is what made the USA great. The reason the USA has fallen is because Americans expect to be happy, and if they fail, they expect the government to bail them out without accepting personal responsibility for their own individual failings. Not everyone succeeds in a capitalist system. BUT-everyone has the freedom to give it a try.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  244. james

    Im American and a bit bias but if you have enough money New York is great...and here in San Francisco,despite the homeless and liberal BS,its over-all pretty great.Weather,great food and wine,and it is beautiful....Ocean 5 minutes away

    November 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  245. Jeannie

    We all have a choice.....either live in a country where unemployment is low and the country is average or live in a country where unemployment is high and the country excels. I guess I want my family to choose to be employed and live in a country that is average than to struggle and have no medical coverage and live in a country that excels.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
  246. Chris

    Jeannie:

    What are you talking about? For someone who seems to hate everything about America you sure do focus on our problems. If you're happy overseas – good for you! You've found something better for yourself, but it's pretty smug on your part to tell someone (who is middle class by the way) that I'm living in a virtual hell-hole, bereft of freedom. That I can't enjoy things – as though I'm not aware of my own being. Sounds like you could take your own advice. Forget this place and live in your happy little cove. I live here and I love it just fine. Hopefully it gets better but I'm not going to punk out and leave it to rot. I

    Calling the U.S. a police state reeks of propagandistic thinking. I've never felt threatened by a police state, and while our government is incredibly corrupt, it's not half of what you describe. Your sunglasses are too dark for my taste.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  247. Andrew

    Seems to be a thing for Germanic cities, minus Van and Auck. Silly for anybody to take seriously. The cities on this list are too expensive for most.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  248. Chris

    Jeannie: I'd love to go to Norway. Looks beautiful and the people are always polilte when I meet them. But I'm a fan of warm weather. My family is Russian and feel comfortable in the cold – I'll keep it as a vacation destination for now.

    The only thing about comparing Norway to the U.S. is the diversity is not part of the equation. In America there is 10 times the population and ten times the problems that come with it. Assimilation, acceptance, tolerance, and the list continues.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  249. Jeannie

    Treblemaker: Americans expect to be happy (Americans were conned into thinking they could afford homes they really couldn't pay for, by crooked banks) Wall Street and Banks were given freedom to do as they pleased with no regulations, and if they fail, they expect the government to bail them out (NO not a bail out, but to save them from the banks) without accepting personal responsibility (it is the average American's responsibility for the Bank scams and Wall Street greed?) for their own individual failings (their own failings? No, the Banks, Wall Street and our government failed the American people)

    November 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  250. clicky

    canada always seems to have a top spot in these listings which is nice.

    the thing to remember is canada posts a few cities in the top listings even though we have the second largest land area on the planet. austria and switzerland maintain great levels of lifestyle yet are postage stamps in terms of land mass yet canada keeps up with them in a country so huge it has 5-1/2 time zones!

    the u.s. is great as long as you don't get sick, live in a rich neighbourhood and never vote for any leaders.

    November 29, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  251. Jeannie

    Chris: Diversity is part of the equation. Norway is a small country with many immigrants from all over. As an immigrant, I had to take a Norwegian culture class and language classes. In my culture class, students were from 22 different countries. In my language class, students were from 16 different countries. Norway says immigrants must assimilate or they cannot get a job. Businesses in Norway will not hire anyone that does not speak the language or they can get fined. Something the USA should look into. I think there are many useful things the USA could learn from Norway when it comes to immigration and jobs. Maybe there wouldn't be so many Americans without jobs and we wouldn't have so many immigants working at jobs without knowing the English language, which could be a safety issue. Instead of the long years of fighting on whether to send illegal immigrants back, make them learn the English language, take some American culture class to help them better understand our country, let them work and pay TAXES after they have learned our language of course and fine any business that hires an immigrant that has not completed all that is required of him or her. There was also an owner of a company in Norway that outsourced jobs, he was fined and continued to outsource so Norway took his citizenship away from him. His daughters now run the company for him and he is living in Crete or Greece. Norway wants to make sure it's citizens have jobs, Norway protects it people and the USA should do the same! Protect it's citizens, keep the jobs in our country and do not farm in cheap help. Punish the companies that hurt our country

    November 29, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
  252. Jeannie

    Clicky: I would love to live in Canada, then I wouldn't have to learn Norwegian to get a job......my husband has a job in Norway because he is fluent in Norwegian. AND I would be closer to my family in Minnesota!! :D

    November 29, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  253. Chris

    Jeannie: I don't disagree with a single point there. I love what Norway has done to ensure Norwegian culture survives multiculturalism. If America acted this way, then our cities would be in better shape. I suppose I'll have to visit it one day. Any recommendations?

    November 29, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  254. Dave

    This is Vienna, Austria, right? The same Austria that until several years ago was being run by a Nazi?

    Vienna isn't even the top city in Central Europe.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  255. David

    Jeannie

    I agree with you with the american immigration policy. Actually I have the feeling they let anybody in easily and most of them are hispanics dont make a move to learn english, mostly go on talking spanish and even take over whole cities like Miami. In fact Miami is under full hispanic control and the main spoken language is spanish..

    Norway is a beautiful and very well run country, but dont forget in fact norway can afford this good system just because they are a big oil and gas exporter..

    November 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  256. Daniela

    @David, I live in metro Detroit and I would much rather spend my day in the most dangerous street of downtown than the safest street of Baghdad. Not everything is based off what you see on TV.

    Vienna is a beautiful city that I enjoy revisiting every year. I am not surprised it is #1, however I am shocked that there are no US cities in the top 10. Maybe this list should be changed to 'The top cities IN EUROPE to live in...' with the exception of NZ, who is isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Hope you like water.

    November 29, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  257. 2050

    I hope to see USA at least in the last place

    November 29, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  258. bob

    @Dave: NO!!..it's Vienna, VA!!!...just another example of American ignorance

    November 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  259. Rock_it

    Vancouver is a wonderful place and has been rated top city on numerous list for best cites to live in the world. It is liveable but its not affordable... Poor Americans trying to defend why they didn't make top ten or top 20, it's because your economy is weak and your crime is troubling, health care is expensive and quality of life is sans. I know you will defend and say you'll take any city in the US before any city on the list, my suggestion to you is... get out of your box and explore what the world has to offer and most of you will think differently when it comes to living in the US.

    The American Dream is on the out...

    November 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  260. Jeannie

    Rock_it: I agree with you. Before we moved to Norway, I always believed what I read and heard on the news from our politicians about Europe, how unsafe it is, terrorists lurking behind every corner etc etc......using their scare tactics. I was terrified to move to Norway and leave the USA, but we really had no other choice. Well........come to find out.....Norway is much safer than the USA, unemployment was 3 % when we arrive, it is still very low and crime, I haven't seen or heard of any in the 2 years we have been here, except for Oslo. I have walked home from downtown pubs at 2:30 in the morning without any fear......couldn't say that about alot of cities in the US. Crime is so low in Norway that policemen never carry guns on their person, they are locked up in the trunk of their vehicles. Another positive about Norway.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  261. Patrick

    So many brainwashed Americans. I want to move to Europe, but I don't think my retirement will be enough. hopefully my house will sell when it's time.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  262. Jeannie

    Rock_it: More Americans need to travel abroad, but of course most cannot afford it or can get the time off to do so.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
  263. badcyclist

    The headline of this article should be "10 Great Cities To Live In If You Are A Rich White Person Who Wants To Hang Out With Other Rich White People." That is Mercer's core business.

    November 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  264. Jeannie

    Patrick, do your research online. I have seen affordable retirement communities in the USA, advertised in magazines and the newspaper. They do the same over here in Europe!

    November 29, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  265. Jeannie

    David: If our government would take ownership of the oil fields and use that to help our country, then maybe we would be better off like Norway. Only a thought. :)

    November 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  266. Friend

    I am a U.S resident but born in Africa (Tanzania). I came to America at the age of 12 and now I am 27. As a middle class, things have became very difficult for me and those around me... It's difficult to find a jobs, personaly, I owe lot's of money and loans to credits companies. I sometime feel its better to live in Tanzania because you don't have so much stress of working multiple jobs to make a living. Well... I would only say the best place to live is when you have the money to do so, otherwise you will keep on talking about places you never experienced!

    November 29, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  267. XSwiss

    The US does not impose taxes on your TV or your BIcycle like Switzerland does, just exactly how do you make up your criteria for this CNN, try living there first and then post your article?

    November 29, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  268. panzand

    Instead of getting all defensive, beating our chests and proclaiming we are the best and surveys like this are ridiculous we should ask ourselves three fundamental questions here in the U.S. on the assumption that improvement is a function of acceptance. They are:

    -why do we think we have not made the list
    -what can we do to change that
    -are we willing to do what it takes on the assumption talk is cheap

    November 29, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  269. Luv Jakarta

    Best city, hands down , is Jakarta, Indonesia or Bali.. great people, great places and great food .

    November 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  270. coast

    The USA is mediocre-the middle class is disappearing, many hidden taxes , too many lawyers and litigation, too many
    illegals, too many criminals, both incarcerated and freed ones; too many drug addicts, too many obese people, too
    many disrespectful citizens, too much debt by households with mortgages and credit cards. too many crooked politicians–

    Ok, now-best place to live-Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Panama, ABC Islands(Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), Sardinia, Israel, Hawaii, Canada, Norway

    November 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  271. bob

    @XSwiss: "No bicycle tax!!!"Thanks! good point!...now it makes me feel better!!!USA!USA!

    November 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  272. closetiguana

    Why is it year after year American cities have poor ratings in these indexs and year after year Americas blame the index?

    Is it not possible that American cities aren't as great as one thinks they are?

    November 29, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
  273. Jeannie

    I've enjoyed this, it was a good discussion without anyone losing their cool and using bad language. I am off to bed now, almost midnight here in Norway. You all carry on and have a good evening! :)

    November 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  274. ActionJackson

    They have 'housing' as a statistic, but notice the word 'affordable' is not put before it. Thats a show stopper for many.

    Judging from the first few, it seems the list should be named "Choice retirement cities for moderately wealthy white guys who enjoy cold weather"

    November 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  275. Drew

    @Laughs

    What are you talking about???? Everyone knows that healthcare is more expensive in the US.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  276. Pete

    If Austria is safe, I am Santa Clause. They have forgotten about the incest going on there. The dude that had children with his own daughter is from Vienna. I would feel safer in Sarajevo right now.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  277. closetiguana

    ActionJackson

    Right. You can buy a whole street in some cities in the U.S for $1.00 down. LOL

    November 29, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  278. ActionJackson

    closetiguana, what in the hell are you talking about?

    November 29, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  279. saveferris15

    Instead of ranting on about whose city is better (which is suggestive), can't the comments be on how other cities can improve, to aspire to be good cities?

    P.S. The only consensus I can take from the hundred-odd comments above is that the best city is not a city at all, but a suburb.

    November 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  280. Maui

    Not one city with warm weather. I would be miserable in all of these cities. My pick: Honolulu, Miami, Tel Aviv, San Diego,.....

    November 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  281. K.

    What's with all the America-bashing? So every, single American is fat and ignorant? All American cites are run-down and crime ridden? All? Every European is educated and cultered? Every one? The facts are that not all Americans are bad as many of you want us to be. Yes, want us to be. Sure, we've got plenty of problems; everyone around the world does. I do think, though, that many of you are projecting your personal issues onto America. There are many, many great cities around the world. What makes a city great, though, truly varies from person to person.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  282. Sean

    I am pretty fortunate. I am 24 and have lived in Dublin, Boston, London and now Singapore.

    Here are thoughts;

    Dublin; Was pre crash so too expensive and mindset can be a a little too alcohol oriented. Combined with weather can be a bit dreary but people are friendly!
    Boston; A great place. I am not wealthy but had many wealthy friends. Basically New England is a top place to live if you have money; ski in winter, cape in summer, nice bars and restaurants in between. But lots of partially hidden poverty
    London: Very low standard of living unless you are loaded. I am not. Massive rents, shi**t Tube and Govt constantly squeezing with Austerity
    Singapore: So easy... Easiest place to live. Note maybe not best as climate can be oppressive and it is very small but everything thing is clean, mostly new and convenient.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  283. Harlequinx

    I thought this list was interesting until I saw that Honolulu was within the top 50. Then I dismissed the whole thing. Honolulu is the armpit of Hawaii.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:45 am |
  284. Ryan

    You know, all you people complaining about the US. Why don't you come over here to Afghanistan and live for a while. No running water, no toilets, danger all over the place. Or how about Africa? Or any other 3rd world country for that matter. Keep complaining about how bad we have it in the US when there are people worse off than us. America is one of the greediest countries in the world, that is why we are in the state we are in. Corporations AND people in general just want want want. It's all about you. Screw the family living on the street who can't find a job while you live in a house and complain about a mortgage payment, right? Or a single mom with kids trying to make it because her husband was off sacrificing himself for his country overseas while you go and protest about not having millions of dollars. US is a great country, or it used to be. But it's the PEOPLE that have brought it down by taking advantage of everyone else for their own good. This is a country of greed and selfishness where no one wants to help anyone else because they may get ahead of you and make something of themselves. People complain about we Christians yet it's you who want us to leave who don't want to help anyone else when we Christians are out there trying to help. The US needs to get over itself, step back, and see where it went wrong.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:08 am |
  285. RoB

    Its funny how everyone is attacking the US, main reason being jealousy. I was born and raised in Europe, live in Canada and regularly visit the US. I'm a child of diplomats so I've seen a good chunk of the world, and would have to say that 3 things that make a good country are: rule of law, freedom of choice/expression and clean environment. The US has that in abundance but so does Canada, Australia, Sweden etc... One thing the US has more than any country is the freedom to chart your own course, be as religious as you want or not at all, be as money focused as you want or not, but do it all on your own terms and be responsible for your own mistakes. If you eat bad food, drink, smoke use drugs, and don't try to educate yourself, you will have to live with the consequences of those actions.. big brother isn't there to force society to pay for your mistakes like it is in a lot of EU countries. This freedom is messy and not always pretty but it is by far the most evolved way for man kind to live. World City ranking should be: 1. Phoenix Arizona, 2 Toronto Ontario, 3 Budapest, Hungary...

    November 30, 2011 at 3:10 am |
  286. Wow...so sad

    Wow...how petty everyone is...I have lived abroad for around 10 years, in 4 countries and am moving to my fifth. I am originally from the US, with an Armenian single-mother who group up in Iran, and have lived in countries in Europe, Southeast Asia and Central Asia. I love NYC, my hometown, think London is fantastic, and have enjoyed many cities and towns all over the world, all which have their own pros and cons. I am not sure why everyone has to rip apart each other's countries. It is truly rather sad, and makes all those countries seem ungrateful when you compare it to the living conditions of some of the poorest countries in the world. Those of us from "first world countries" maybe should stop trying to say who is the most "First World" and just be thankful for the fact that we have so many privileges...like the ability to sit around on the internet and criticize.

    great Europe is better than America...WHO CARES?....can we get over it and actually put some of that energy into helping all the suffering people around the world, the poor level of education for all those but the wealthy, and the tattered remnants of the eco-systems on our planet...

    November 30, 2011 at 5:26 am |
  287. zhang

    The US bashing is funny.

    Yes, it is true that America can be an obnoxious pile of excess-fetishized fat people; I would recommend staying away from amusement parks, carnivals, and zoos.

    Europe can be cool, but why the hell would anyone live in Germany (or any German-speaking culture)? The food comments in the beginning of the thread are laughable: unless you are in France or parts of Spain or Italy, then food in Europe in pretty much tasteless calories. For general comfort, I prefer Nice or Barcelona. For lifestyle and culture, never leave London!!

    I've lived in Taipei, Shanghai, Osaka, Honolulu, Sydney, London, Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Denver, and New York.

    The things I care about in this world: food, funny and creative people, interesting things to do with my wife or with my kids, relevant intellectual and social ideas. It is not even close: New York is the greatest, most important city currently inhabited on this planet earth. San Francisco is probably next in line. They are expensive and can be inconvenient, but I'm willing to make sacrifices to live in the greatest cities in the world. No, I am not indoctrinated to believe that America is the best country on earth; I do not think this is the case. The simple fact of the discussion is that New York is the most important city on this planet.

    November 30, 2011 at 5:46 am |
  288. Joe

    Life in the USA is very difficult if you don't make much money. Working conditions are poor. Health insurance is expensive. Americans are slaves to debt and big business.

    November 30, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  289. Pension thief?

    @ Zhang, do you happen to work in the pension thieving (aka invetsment banking) industry? Then I can understand how you got a good job in New York and can enjoy that place, including it's reliable supply of drugs supplied by murduring Mexican cartels. I don't imagine you would be writing the same words about New York if you were delivering for a chinese take-away in the Bronx...

    November 30, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  290. yc

    As if people had a choice ...

    Why not "the top person to be is ..."?

    November 30, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  291. David

    @zhang
    German food and beer rocks, asian food mostly is just rice + x, I would get sick by have to eat it everyday.. And what to life in NY, its dirty its way too expensive and the rooms are small, some even dont have windows. You also have to count with an islamistic attack every day..I think u dont really know what you are talking about..

    November 30, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  292. you're all idiots

    If you like where you live then that is the best place... for you.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
  293. Klw

    It seems to me that this would most likely be fairly close to a list of cities with the richest citizens, since the primary factor being used to determine quality of life is public infrastructure.

    It also seems to me that a lot of cities on this list would move up if they could chop off their slum section and call it a different city.

    I find it hard to believe that the US is as bad as everyone on this board is saying.

    Details they didn't add:

    1. New York (#49) given a base score of 100 and all other cities on list measured based on quality of living relative to New York.
    2. Mercer is in New York.
    3. Vienna is at 108.6 out of 100.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  294. Jason

    It's really funny to read about isolated incidents and bad personal experiences from different countries that make that country bad or worse than others. People who live in the cities that are on this list may have a better understanding of that city, as opposed to a visitor for the summer or down to see friends/family. It's quality of living, not quality of vacationing.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  295. tom lubliner

    Every city/region/country/continent/hemisphere has its pros and cons, and I don't want to join the flame that is going on here. But please, dear US American users on this board, please stop highlighting so aggressively the fact that the US offers the most adventurous lifestyle in which you can achieve anything if you work hard enough. Basically I don't think the whole "chart your own course" thing is true anymore, because for many people, it's to choose between being poor and being even poorer. It's ok if Europe with its social security systems is not your cup of tea, but to label the idea of not being left to die if you're sick/ill/out of work as "boring" (as in "it's not up to chance) is a little bit cynical, don't you think?

    November 30, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  296. John

    Where the best place to live is depends on your personal preferences, where your grew up, your age, profession, family situation, etc.
    One has to keep in mind who this list is directed at. "Mercer conducts the survey to help governments and multi-national companies compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments." And who provides the data. (expats with their non-representative demographics)

    Still the list is (in my opinion) much too biased. I live in Vienna and I have no trouble putting it on top of a list of most liveable cities. But where are the cities that are good at the things Vienna is not good at? Places with warm climate, friendly people, vibrant nightlife, cultural diversity, many opporunities, less "socialism", ...? The top-10 are basically all flawed in the same way.

    November 30, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  297. ActionJackson

    Those touting the US as unassailably the best are a bit ridiculous, but so are those that are bashing it as the absolute worst. Despite exaggerated reports to the contrary, the majority in the US are employed, have healthcare, and their earnings place them squarely in the middle class.

    November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  298. bob

    @David: agree with you!.. ZHANG is delusional!...I'm not saying NYC is bad....but to compare it with a nice European city..here in US the slogan is "don't fix it if it's not broken"...how about ugly ACs sticking out of every window!?...how about rusted staircase in front of the windows?...not to mention the subway!!...infrastructure is 100 year old!!

    November 30, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  299. Old Europe

    @bob: LOL at least you can have ACs in your apt in the US. People can't use personal ACs in Switzerland. Europe has a lot more old buildings than the US. They are preserved for historical reasons. Many European cities like to stay in the post WW2 stage. They are happy that way and do not like changes.

    November 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  300. Mike T

    About 50 years ago, NBC Newsman David Brinkley did a wonderful TV special on Vienna, in which he concluded :"Vienna is over-governed, under-worked, over-fed, a remnant of the 18th century preserved in milk chocolate and whipped cream."

    November 30, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  301. Pension thief?

    @John: The best answer to your question (warm climate, friendly people, vibrant nightlife, cultural diversity, many opporunities") is probably Tel Aviv, but it has additional challenges as well. And oh, fancy learning Hebrew?

    November 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  302. Dekkar

    Ugh, Zurich? Really?

    I'd honestly rather live in Edmonton or Calgary, or Vancouver or Seattle. I've been to Zurich as a student, and it is NOT a nice city if you don't have money. Then again, Vancouver is an awesome city but Victoria's better if you haven't got lots of cash.

    As far as job opportunities go, the job market in Alberta is amazing. It's so easy to get a job there, and it's sunny most of the year (even though it's cold for 6 months). The people there were really friendly too. I'd move there permanently one day.

    November 30, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  303. jamesd

    And the USA is ???????--Just above Bagdad ?????

    December 1, 2011 at 2:14 am |
  304. Peace

    Go hell!! The best place to live for me is home.....home sweet home...I belong to the poorest country in the world and lived in 80% of the countries mentioned above.

    December 1, 2011 at 4:12 am |
  305. Dean

    Americans and Europeans take note. THe correct top 10 below;
    Sydney
    Bangkok
    Tokyo for 6 months
    Glasgow for 12 months max.
    Zurich for a long weekend
    London two days and take in a show
    New York – one week
    Madrid for 4 days
    T

    December 1, 2011 at 11:27 am |
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  308. OMB

    No city beats Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Cold as hell, but no earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes. FREEEE Health Care for everyone.

    December 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  309. Absurd

    Haha i just really like the zurich = modern communism comment following a laundry list of "poor country" perks zurich doesnt offer.

    "No sales on clothes!" haha... if you want your gabriel brothers, walmart, sweatpants shopping sprees etc... stay in the US

    December 1, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  310. Vienna

    Vienna could be elected as the best city in the world to live in year in year out, but as a foreigner you are reminded daily tha you dont belong here ...and probably not needed . It is both personal and political, open a local newspaper any day and you see it, be it an FPO
    advert, or a statistic about the No of kids Non-Austrian women are getting in comparison to Austrian ones.....

    December 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  311. Person

    I lived in Germany for most of my life, while living there I did think that the USA would be better but when I finally moved here I saw that the USA has its flaws as well. It doesn't matter what country it is, no country is perfect. It all depends on what you like. In the USA I like the blue sky, the opportunities for women, etc. In Germany I love the healthcare, public transportation, etc. Every place has good things and bad things about it.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  312. Lizzie

    I am quite surprised the UK isn't on there. It really is a fantastic place to live. However in all fairness I would assume that the London riots not to long ago probably didn't help. Although it was an isolated incident it was very scary for all of us at the time. I am really glad to hear that Vienna is at the top of the list, I am going on a Vienna city break over the new year as my eldest is planning on studying there so this survey has certainly put my mind at rest.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  313. Guest

    It is very interesting to observe people's reactions since this blog has been published. Frankly, there aren't many useful comments available here, because everyone is judging rather subjectively about their personal ranking.

    Yet, people keep arguing about the number two of this survey instead of discussing about the number one LOL
    I was born in Vienna and I still live here although I have been everywhere around the world. I have seen Northern American cities, African cities, Asian mega-cities and other European capitals. Most of my colleagues are also from abroad and they "unisono" say that Vienna is a beautiful town to live in. I agree, it is a beautiful town with beautiful architecture, awesome infrastructure, great food. People here have a very strong conscience about quality, like in most Western European places. Good quality = higher price (in almost all cases)
    What people seem to forget about an expensive town like Zürich, the AVERAGE earnings in Switzerland are way higher then elsewhere, clearly prices here are higher too (in my way of thinking) So if we sum it up it all comes down to the same result. If you travel to Switzerland, coming from a country with lower average wages, then of course, Switzerland feels more expensive. That sounds logical to me.

    And I see nothing bad about obligatory health insurance. Better I have any kind of insurance, then no insurance at all and i am "s.o.l" in case of accidents.

    concerning xenophopia I must add, that i am of Chinese origin. I might have had problems in the past but people here are more familiar with foreign-looking people now. Historically, Asians and African people immigrated to Austria in the 80's, compared to US immigration history VERY late. so it all took a while until Austrian natives had to "get used" to new ethnics in their neighborhood. I don't believe that Austrian or Swiss people are more xenophopic then elsewhere, they are simply not afraid of talking about social issues. People here don't hate foreigners. They have stereotypes towards certain groups, like "black people are all drug pusher" or "Turkish are always the trouble makers" – and i must admit, if you look around, it is not totally untrue. unfortunately the negative headlines cover up the good ones. it's always like that because the bad news are always more sensational. But for me as an Asian i have never had really big troubles and issues with xenophoic people.
    Austrians and Swiss are very traditional. they have a very conservative way of thinking and conservative way of life when it comes to rituals and holidays – which is totally alright. I would rather say they are reluctant towards new things, they first observe and hold themselves in the background and as soon as they found out there is nothing to worry about they come embracing you.

    That's just the way it is. It's neither bad, nor good. It's just different. You don't have to accept it or understand it. Just know it, be cognicent about it. There is no need to argue about this because it is not gonna change because people abroad think it's wrong. it would be very cynical to interfere and tell the other people what to do and what not because they feel it's right (for them).

    about FPÖ: the reason why FPÖ has supporters here is that christian democrats and social democrats have been ruling this country for too long. nothing is improving or going further. people want a major change, unfortunately FPÖ sensed this need among the Austrian people and used this for their own campaigns. On the outside it might look like people vote FPÖ because they are xenophobic but the real reason is that people want a change in this country. They are sick of a lame government and they are sick of politicians here. and FPÖ is promoting a change... so naturally people will listen – and unfortunately there are some unintelligent, uneducated persons who follow :-(

    December 9, 2011 at 12:08 am |
  314. Sherry

    The best place to live in the world is the place that makes you feel the happiest. Period.

    December 11, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  315. hanna

    It is so impossible to say which city is the best, and I believe it also depends on age, the people you meet, your job.
    I have only lived, studied, and worked in Europe (Cologne, Montpellier, Vienna) and the US (Berkeley and San Francisco) so far.

    I do believe life quality for a rich person can be higher in the US (at least the Bay Area), for the average person though, Europe beats the US by far. I am young and healthy and worked for a very good company in SF. Nonetheless, every single time I saw the doctor, the health insurance company would cause troubles. To be honest: this treatment in the US was the worst I have received (I admit though I was covered under a private health insurance plan in Germany and Austrian health care is just fine, the treatment by the doctors was great!, the treatment by the health insurance companies was a shame). For a person with a permanent disease, the US can be brutal: even if covered you may loose everything because of a disease. While I am not sick, it was hard for me to ignore that possibility and to ignore the fact that my friends, colleagues etc. might face such hardship. The poverty I have seen in the US was shocking – I have never been confronted with so much poverty in Europe. It is hard to see such poverty in a rich country like the US. The fact that education is sooooo expensive is also shocking. For instance, law school in Berkeley costs around USD 50,000 a year. This comes after the costly college education. On the other hand, Americans are really nice people, they are. I would be super lucky to live in Europe with some more Americans who would add the openness and friendliness to Europe which is sometimes missing. Despite having loved in Vienna for 8 years, I didn't make any Austrian friends. In the US, there are tons of people willing to socialize and many Americans are much smarter than us Europeans might think.

    Thus, these statistics don't say much. It depends on the particular life situation, friends etc. While I love San Francisco (it is so beautiful), I must say: working in Europe is so much better. At least in Germany: so much more efficient and so much more family-friendliy. I am turning 30 soon and considering all the above, European cities will be my choice for having a city and growing old. Some American cries would be my choice for being young and having fun.

    December 28, 2011 at 4:38 am |
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