The World's Best Places to Live 2008

BusinessWeek

Mercer Consulting's annual roundup of the global cities with the best quality of life is here, and Zurich once again comes out on top. The best place in the U.S.? Honolulu at No. 28.

New York, London, and Paris are internationally renowned cities but consultants at Mercer Consulting have picked Zurich, Switzerland, as the best place to live in the company's annual survey.

More from BusinessWeek.com:

World's Most Expensive Real Estate Markets

World's Most Affordable Housing Markets

Countries With Most Millionaire Households

Consultants rated each city on a variety of factors including the level of traffic congestion, air quality, and personal safety reported by expatriates living in more than 600 cities worldwide. In the top 25, U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago were all edged out by Geneva, Switzerland, Vancouver, B.C., and Auckland, New Zealand. The highest-scoring U.S. city is Honolulu, which came in at No. 28.

Still, Mercer acknowledges that cities with a high quality of life are not necessarily the most exciting. "There are a lot of 'sleepy' towns that got high ratings," said Rebecca Powers, a principal consultant in human capital for the company. "But if you were to judge them on something like nightlife, there are some that probably wouldn't have rated as high."

View gallery

.
Credit: Getty Images

No. 1: Zurich, Switzerland

Mercer score: 108*
2007 rank: No. 1
GDP: $300.9 billion (2007 est.)**
Population: 7,581,520 (total country); 347,517 (total city)
Life expectancy: 80.74 years

No. 2 (tie): Vienna, Austria

Mercer score: 107.9
2007 rank: No. 3
GDP: $319.7 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 8,205,533 (total country); 1,825,287 (total city)
Life expectancy: 79.36 years

View gallery

.
Credit: Getty Images

No. 2 (tie): Geneva, Switzerland

Mercer score: 107.9
2007 rank: No. 2
GDP: $300.9 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 7,581,520 (total country); 185,000 (total city)
Life expectancy: 80.74 years

No. 4: Vancouver, Canada

Mercer score: 107.6
2007 rank: No. 3
GDP: $1.274 trillion (2007 est.)
Population: 33,212,696 (total country); 560,000 (total city)
Life expectancy: 81.16 years

View gallery

.
Credit: Getty Images

No. 5: Auckland, New Zealand

Mercer score: 107.3
2007 rank: No. 5
GDP: $112.6 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 4,173,460 (total country); 1.18 million (total city)
Life expectancy: 80.24 years

No. 6: Dusseldorf, Germany

Mercer score: 107.2
2007 rank: No. 6
GDP: $2.833 trillion (2007 est.)
Population: 82,369,548 (total country); 581,858 (total city)
Life expectancy: 79.1 years

View gallery

.
Credit: Getty Images

No. 7 (tie): Munich, Germany

Mercer score: 107
2007 rank: No. 8
GDP: $2.833 trillion (2007 est.)
Population: 82,369,548 (total country); 1,332,650 (total city)
Life expectancy: 79.1 years

No. 7 (tie): Frankfurt, Germany

Mercer score: 107
2007 rank: No. 7
GDP: $2.833 trillion (2007 est.)
Population: 82,369,548 (total country); 3,700,000 (total city)
Life expectancy: 79.1 years

View gallery

.
Credit: Getty Images

No. 9: Bern, Switzerland

Mercer score: 106.5
2007 rank: No. 9
GDP: $319.7 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 8,205,533 (total country); 122,178 (total city)
Life expectancy: 79.36 years

No. 10: Sydney, Australia

Mercer score: 106.3
2007 rank: No. 9
GDP: $766.8 billion (2007 est.)
Population: 20,600,856 (total country); 4,297,100 (total city)
Life expectancy: 80.73 years

See Amsterdam, Honolulu, and more of the World’s Best Places to Live

* The rankings are based on a point scoring index, with Zurich scoring 108 and Baghdad scoring 13.5. Cities are compared to New York as the base city, with an index score of 100. The quality-of-living survey covers 215 cities and is conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments. The survey also identifies those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, crime, effectiveness of law enforcement, and relationships with other countries.

** The World Factbook
View Comments (0)