New York, Paris and London might dominate when it comes to fashion, nightlife and entertainment. But it is a more low-key city that has been crowned the best place in the world to live. The Austrian capital of Vienna beat 229 other cities to take the title in the 18th Mercer Quality of Life survey.
It was followed by Zurich, Geneva in second place and the New Zealand capital of Auckland in third.
Access to healthcare, quality of education, housing and environmental factors are all taken into consideration by the team at Mercer, one of the world’s largest HR consultancy firms.
The results of the study, the most comprehensive of its kind, are used by international corporations to assess how safe it is to send their employees to a given city.
Seven of the top 10 places with the best quality of life were in Europe, and nearly half of them were in Germany. Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt ranked at four, six and seven respectively.
The Danish capital of Copenhagen, which was recently named one of the happiest places in the world to live, came in ninth place.
Despite its high cost of living, Geneva, also made the list, coming in at number eight. Residents of the Swiss city, among the richest in the world, enjoy high standards of education and low crime rates.
Sydney, Australia, was named the 10th most desirable place to live. Its stunning natural environment, beautiful weather and thriving cultural scene all work in its favour.
Vancouver, Canada, one of the countries most diverse cities, was came in fifth place.
But British cities have failed to make an impact on the list this year, with London the highest place at 39. The only other English city to make the cut is Birmingham at number 53.
Scotland fares slightly better with three cities – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – ranked at 46, 55 and 59, respectively. Belfast was ranked in 64th place.
Crime and personal safety are also factors that keep many US cities out of the top spots, with none of them managing to break the top 20.
San Francisco is the highest ranking at 28, followed by Boston at 34 and the Hawaiian city of Honolulu at 35. Chicago and New York City come in at 43 and 44 respectively.