The World’s Best — and Worst — Places to Live

Mercer Consulting has come out with its annual list of world cities with the best and worst infrastructure and quality of life. Great if you're in Vienna; not so much in Port-au-Prince.

  • Share
  • Read Later

PORT AU PRINCE, HAITI - JANUARY 18: Looters in the commercial district of Port au Prince on January 18, 2010 in Port au Prince, Haiti.

Before it had a chance to recover from a devastating earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people in 2010, Haiti was hit by a drought this past spring, followed by a tropical storm, two months of heavy rains, and eventually, Superstorm Sandy. No wonder the disaster-torn country is considered one of the worst places to live, according to a new global study of infrastructure and quality of life by New York City-based consulting firm Mercer.

(MORE: In Haiti, Hurricane Sandy Leaves Behind Death and Destruction)

According to Mercer, Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s quake-ravaged capital, has the world’s worst infrastructure when judged by metrics including the availability of electricity, fresh water and public transportation; it also has the world’s third-worst quality of life. Thing aren’t getting much better for Haiti either: Since Sandy wiped out 70% of food crops and left another 21,000 people homeless, the U.N. cautions that as many as 1.5 million Haitians might face hunger.

Baghdad, Iraq, ranks worst for quality of life and second to worst for infrastructure. Peace has been slow to arrive in Iraq following the withdrawal of U.S. troops last December, with violence among Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions prompting deadly attacks on a monthly basis. Just today, the Associated Press reported that unidentified gunmen killed a family of six in Baghdad. In less than a year, almost 2,000 people have died as a result of the ongoing conflict, according to the Guardian.

(VIDEO: Bill Clinton on What Haiti Needs)

Vienna tops Mercer’s list of cities with the best quality of life for a second year in a row, followed by Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver. As usual, European cities represent 60% of the world’s top 25 cities for quality of living, according to the survey. No U.S. cities made the top 25, with Honolulu at 28th.

When it comes to best infrastructure, Singapore emerges as the top winner, followed by European cities  Frankurt, Munich, Copenhagen and Dusseldorf. Another Asian city, Hong Kong, placed sixth.

Here are the top 10 lists of both surveys:

Worst Infrastructure

  1. Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  2. Baghdad, Iraq
  3. Sana’a, Yemen
  4. Brazzaville, Congo
  5. Kigali, Rwanda
  6. Conakry, Guinea
  7. Abuja, Nigeria
  8. Lagos, Nigeria
  9. Bangui, Central African Republic
  10. Antananarivo, Madagascar

Worst Quality of Living

  1. Baghdad, Iraq
  2. Bangui, Central African Republic
  3. Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  4. N’Djamena, Chad
  5. Khartoum, Sudan
  6. Sana’a, Yemen
  7. Brazzaville, Congo
  8. Tbilisi, Georgia
  9. Nouakchott, Mauritania
  10. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Best Infrastructure

  1. Singapore
  2. Frankfurt, Germany
  3. Munich, Germany
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Dusseldorf, Germany
  6. Hong Kong
  7. London, United Kingdom
  8. Sydney, Australia
  9. Vancouver, Canada (tied with Hamburg, Germany)

Best Quality of Living

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

PHOTOS: After Haiti’s Quake: A Photographer’s Vision