Only 1 North American city made the top 10 best for expats — and it's in Canada

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Making the decision to live and work abroad is a huge undertaking, especially if you’re uprooting your family. And perhaps the biggest question of all is: “Where do we go?”

Well, you could do worse than Vienna, Zurich or Auckland, which just bagged the top spots in global consulting firm Mercer’s 2023 Quality of Living survey for expatriates.

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The Austrian capital retained its place at the top of the list, which was last published in the pre-pandemic days of 2019. The survey’s compilers highlighted the city’s vibrant cultural scene, architecture and history.

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The Swiss city of Zurich, in second spot, was hailed for its political stability and high-quality infrastructure, while on the other side of the world, Auckland was praised for its high standard of health care and cultural dynamism.

Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, and Switzerland’s Geneva took fourth and fifth spots. In a top 10 largely dominated by Western European cities, Canada’s Vancouver was the lone North American entry, sitting in eighth place and hailed for its “outdoor recreation and cosmopolitan living.”

The downtown Vancouver skyline at sunset. Photo by Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

The city-state of Singapore was the highest ranked Asian entry, tied in 29th place with Adelaide, while Hong Kong languished in 77th place on the list of 241 destinations.

In other findings:

  • New York charted at 40th place, three spots beneath San Francisco.
  • London topped the United Kingdom’s entries in 45th place, with Aberdeen at No. 49 and Edinburgh at No. 51.
  • Dubai was the highest ranked Middle Eastern city in 79th place, while Mauritian capital Port Louis was Africa’s top city at No. 88.
  • Sydney ranked in ninth spot, with Melbourne and Perth coming in 21st and 22nd respectively.
  • Bottom of the list, in 241st place, was the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

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“The current global landscape is affected by geopolitical turmoil, natural disasters and other economic challenges, all of which have significant implications for cities and their ability to attract and retain talent,” said Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global head of mobility. “Many employees are reconsidering their priorities and assessing the quality of life provided to them and their families in the places they live and work.”

Mercer analyzed living conditions in more than 450 cities worldwide, looking at 39 factors including political and social environment, health, education, recreation and housing.

These are the 10 cities with the best quality of living:

1 — Vienna, Austria

2 — Zurich, Switzerland

3 — Auckland, New Zealand

4 — Copenhagen, Denmark

5 — Geneva, Switzerland

6 — Frankfurt, Germany

7 — Munich, Germany

8 — Vancouver, Canada

9 — Sydney, Australia

10 — Duesseldorf, Germany

And these are the 10 cities at the bottom of the list:

241 — Khartoum, Sudan

240 — Baghdad, Iraq

239 — Bangui, Central African Republic

238 — Sanaa, Yemen

237 — Port-au-Prince, Haiti

236 — N’djamena, Chad

235 — Damascus, Syria

234 — Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

233 — Tripoli, Libya

232 — Brazzaville, Republic of Congo

Bloomberg.com

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