Singapore beats Hong Kong in quality of living ranking

Singapore is Asia's best but only ranked 25th globally.

Vienna retains the top spot as the city with the world’s best quality of living, according to the Mercer 2012 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third place, respectively, and Munich is in fourth place, followed by Vancouver, which ranked fifth. Düsseldorf dropped one spot to rank sixth followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva in eighth, Copenhagen in ninth, and Bern and Sydney tied for tenth place.

Among Asia Pacific cities, Australian and New Zealand cities ranked highest on the index, followed by Singapore.

Globally, the cities with the lowest quality of living are Khartoum, Sudan (217); N’Djamena, Chad (218); Port-au-Prince, Haiti (219); and Bangui, Central African Republic (220). Baghdad, Iraq (221) ranks last.

Mercer conducts this survey annually to help multinational companies and other organizations compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Mercer’s Quality of Living reports provide valuable information and hardship premium recommendations for many cities throughout the world. Mercer’s Quality of Living index list covers 221 cities, ranked against New York as the base city.

This year’s ranking separately identifies the cities with the best infrastructure based on electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transportation, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports. Singapore is at the top of this index, followed by Frankfurt and Munich in second place. Copenhagen (4) and Dusseldorf (5) fill the next two slots, while Hong Kong and London share sixth place. Port-au-Prince (221) ranks at the bottom of the list.

“In order for multinational companies to ensure their expatriates are compensated appropriately and an adequate hardship allowance is included in compensation packages, they must be aware of current events and local circumstances,” said Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer. “Factors such as internal stability, law enforcement effectiveness, crime levels and medical facilities are important to consider when deciding on an international assignment, and the impact on daily life that could be encountered by the expatriate in overseas placements.”

Mr. Parakatil continued, “Infrastructure has a significant effect on the quality of living that expatriates experience. While often taken for granted when functioning to a high standard, a city’s infrastructure can generate severe hardship when it is deficient. Companies need to provide adequate allowances to compensate their international workers for these and other hardships.”

Asia Pacific

Auckland (3) retains its position as the highest-ranking city for quality of living in the region. Sydney follows at 10, Wellington at 13, Melbourne at 17 and Perth at 21. Singapore remains the highest-ranking Asian city at 25 followed by Japanese cities Tokyo (44), Kobe (48), Yokohama (49) and Osaka (57). Hong Kong (70), Seoul (75), Kuala Lumpur (80), Taipei (85) and Shanghai (95) are other major Asian cities ranked in the top 100.

Rankings for the other major cities in the ASEAN region include 115 for Bangkok, 128 for Manila and 138 for Jakarta. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City follow at 147 and 149 respectively. The region’s lowest-ranking cities are Dhaka, Bangladesh (203); Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (204); and Dushanbe, Tajikistan (207).

In terms of city infrastructure, Singapore has the highest ranking worldwide followed by Hong Kong (6), Sydney (8), Perth (25), Tokyo (32) and Melbourne (34). Adelaide and Brisbane both ranked 37. Nagoya (41), Auckland (43), Kobe (44), Wellington (48), Seoul (50) and Osaka (51) are the next highest-ranking cities in this region. The region’s lowest-ranking city for city infrastructure is Dhaka, Bangladesh (205).

According to Phil Stanley, Asia Pacific Global Mobility Leader, “A noticeable gap can be seen among Asia Pacific cities where several cities have improved in the region partly because they have been investing massively in infrastructure and public services,” said Competition among municipalities has been continuously increasing in order to attract multinationals, foreigners, expatriates and tourists. Yet a considerable number of Asian cities rank in the bottom quartile, mainly due to high political volatility, poor infrastructure and obsolete public services.”  



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