Tel Aviv Ranks 104th for Best Quality of Life, Survey Says

German-speaking cities offer the best quality of life, according to a survey conducted by global consulting company Mercer.

People on the beach in Tel Aviv, February 14, 2016.
Tomer Appelbaum

Tel Aviv takes a modest 104th place in a new quality of living survey of major international cities — well below the highest-ranked Vienna and Zurich, but nowhere near Baghdad, Bangui (Central African Republic) and Yemen’s Sana’a, which are at the foot of the list.

Commissioned by Mercer, a global consulting company, the survey ranks 230 cities around the world according to several dozen factors, from political and social environment to public services, housing and the natural environment. The survey is targeted primarily at multinational companies sending expatriate workers abroad.

Of key concern in the 2016 listing was security and personal safety, an issue that caused several cities — among them Paris, scene of two large-scale terrorist attacks in 2015 — to drop precipitously in the rankings. Presumably it was also a factor in Tel Aviv’s mid-level ranking.

Several things are clear from even a cursory glance at the Mercer list: Europe is still a good place to live — even though London and Paris don’t even make it in the top 35; life is really very good in Australia and New Zealand; and you can’t beat a German-speaking city for quality of life.

Topping the list are Vienna, Zurich, Auckland (New Zealand), Munich, Vancouver and Dusseldorf — four out of six for the German-speakers. In North America, the Canadians are well ahead of their southern neighbors, with Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal all coming in ahead of the highest ranked American city — San Francisco in place 28.

Asian cities make their first appearance with Singapore, in 26th place. After that, it’s a pretty long drop to Tokyo (44), followed quickly by Kobe (46) and Yokohama (49). The highest-ranked non-Japanese city is Hong Kong (70).

As usual, the Middle East and Africa bring up the rear, with only Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Port Louis (Mauritius,) Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg making it into the top 100 — the latter three by the skin of their teeth.

Interestingly, Damascus, which is in the midst of a civil war, is not bottom of the list. That honor goes to Baghdad. Damascus slots in at 224, higher than Khartoum (Sudan) Bamako (Niger) and Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo.

“Heightened domestic and global security threats, population displacement resulting from violence, and social unrest in key business centers around the world are all elements adding to the complex challenge facing multinational companies when analyzing the safety and health of their expatriate workforces,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and president of Mercer’s Talent business.

“Multinational companies need accurate data and objective methods to determine the cost implications of deteriorating living standards and personal safety issues when compensating expatriates.”