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pleasant living Swiss cities retain top quality of life status

cafe terrace in bern

Café culture in the centre of Bern, the Swiss capital.

(Keystone / Manuel Lopez)

Three Swiss cities feature in the top 10 of the latest Mercer quality of living rankingexternal link, which once again is top-heavy with European metropolises.

As in last year’s ranking, Zurich is the second most liveable city in the world, just behind Vienna, the human resources consulting firm Mercer has reported.

Geneva (9th, down one spot) and Basel (10th, again) also rank highly, while Swiss capital Bern comes 14th in a list that features eight European cities in the top 10.

Surveying some 231 global cities, Mercer establishes the ranking based on criteria including crime rates, public transport, waste disposal services, climate, and electricity supplies.

The list can be used to calculate the salaries of expatriated workers sent to destinations around the world, Mercer says.

+ More on why Basel is such an attractive place to live

Switzerland has traditionally fared extremely well in such rankings: even though expats sometimes moan about the difficulty of integration and of getting to know Swiss people, the political stability, healthcare, and high salaries boost the country’s reputation.

In this year’s Mercer report, the strong European performance was contrasted by declining fortunes for US cities, which all dropped except for New York (44th), where the ongoing decrease in crime rates allowed it to jump a spot.

At the bottom end of the scale, African and Middle Eastern cities facing security issues came out worst, with Baghdad propping up the table despite “significant improvements in security and sanitation services in recent years”.


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