Cities want to attract businesses and talent, so their appeal as a desirable place to live matters.
What determines good quality of living in a city? You might want recreational opportunities, ample public services, good transportation, available housing and healthcare. Mercer's Quality of Living rankings includes these factors in their evaluation of nearly 500 destinations around the world, along with the economic environment, availability of consumer goods, the political and social environment, the natural environment, socio-cultural environment, education and personal safety.
Mercer, a global business consulting company, does the ranking every year.
It's interesting to note that in the personal safety category, none of the U.S. cities made the top 10, in fact, in the U.S., most locations have seen a decline in safety, the report says. Some of the least safe cities were in central Africa, Iraq, Syria and Haiti. Criteria used for the personal safety ranking include: internal stability, crime,law enforcement, limitations on personal freedom and media/censorship.
As for quality of living overall, the highest ranking U.S. city is San Francisco, at No. 34. None of Mercer's top five cities for international employees in North America were in the U.S., all are in Canada.
Based on Mercer's ranking, these are the cities with the best quality of living in the world:
The Austrian capital has made the top of this list for a decade, with the best quality of living in the world. Pictured is Grabenstrasse, the main street in old town Vienna.
As many as 13 of the world's top 20 spots were taken by European cities.
Photo: Reidl / Shutterstock
Zurich is also one of the five safest cities in the world.
Photo: MarinaD_37 / Shutterstock
3. Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is another of the safest cities in the world.
Photo: Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock
According to Mercer, many cities around the world still offer attractive environments in which to do business, and the best of them understand that the quality of living is an essential component of a city's attractiveness for businesses and mobile talent.
5. Auckland, New Zealand
Photo: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
Photo: trabantos / Shutterstock
7. Frankfurt, Germany
Pictured is the Christmas market in Frankfurt's historic center.
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
Photo: Shalom Rufeisen / Shutterstock
Photo: Roman Babakin / Shutterstock
10. Basel, Switzerland
Above, Basel with its red stone Minster cathedral and the Rhine river.
Photo: Nigel Jarvis / Shutterstock
Above, visitors in the Rembrandt Hall in Amsterdam's RIjksmuseum.
Photo: Tina Bour / Shutterstock
14. Bern, Switzerland
15. Wellington, New Zealand
Above, Wellington's funicular cable car is a 5-minute ride from the heart of the city, past terraced hillside homes to a lookout perched high above Wellington.
Photo: Victor Maschek / Shutterstock
Ice skaters enjoy Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.
17. Melbourne, Australia
Degraves Street in Melbourne is a popular pedestrian-only lane known for its cafes and street art.
Photo: Nils Versemann / Shutterstock
19. Ottawa, Canada
Above, skaters on Ottawa's Rideau Canal, the world's largest naturally frozen skating rink, which stretches 4.8 miles from downtown to Dows Lake.
20. Hamburg, Germany
21. Perth, Australia
Photo: Benny Marty / Shutterstock
Photo: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock
23. Nuremburg, Germany
25. Oslo, Norway
Pictured is the Oslo Opera House.
Photo: Tupungato / Shutterstock
The Gardens by the Bay in Singapore is a 250-acre nature park. Some of the Supertrees, shown here, are as tall as 160 feet.
Photo: S-F / Shutterstock
27. Stuttgart, Germany
Pictured is the Stuttgart public library.
Photo: RossHelen / Shutterstock
29. Adelaide, Australia
30. Canberra, Australia
See the ranking of all the cities at Mercer.