Mercer has recently announced its 2012 Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings, and European cities dominate the list. Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland; and Auckland, New Zealand, are, according Mercer, the cities in which residents enjoy the best quality of life. Europe this year had 15 of the top 25 cities for quality of living. Germany and Switzerland each have three cities each in the top 10, making them the highest-ranked countries for quality of living.
"Mercer conducts this survey annually to help multinational companies and other organizations compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments," according to their website. Mercer says its report on this ranking provides valuable information and "hardship premium recommendations," alluding to compensation some employees might deserve for being placed in some of the lower-rated cities.
Baghdad, Iraq, a city almost constantly ravaged by war and unrest, ranks last in Mercer's ranking at number 221, accompanied by Khartoum, Sudan; N'Djamena, Chad; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Bangui, Central African Republic. Senior Mercer Researcher Slagin Parakatil says on Mercer's website that the report (available on www.mercer.com) and individual city reports can help employees and companies prepare for life in foreign cities.
In addition to the Quality of Living survey, Mercer has also released its ranking for Cities with the best infrastructure, which this year is topped by Singapore. The infrastructure list evaluates "electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transportation, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports," specifics that also would be important to new residents.