Mercer, a global leader in redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being, and a business of Marsh McLennan (NYSE: MMC), today released its Quality of Living rankings, which assess the practicalities of daily life for expatriates and their families working outside of their home location.

Five Canadian cities have landed in the top 25, including Vancouver (8), Toronto (17), Ottawa (tied for 18), Montreal (tied for 20) and Calgary (23). Vancouver, known for its scenic surroundings, outdoor recreation, and diversity, is the highest-ranking city in all of North America.

“We’re proud to see Canadian cities so well represented among the top places globally offering high quality of living to expatriates,” said Elizabeth English, principal in Mercer Canada’s Career Products business. “Each Canadian city is unique in culture and lifestyle. From Vancouver’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean and coastal mountains, Toronto’s vibrant city life, Ottawa’s access to the country’s parliament, Montreal being a hub for gaming and AI and Calgary’s emergence as a cleantech hub. It’s no surprise that Canada continues to be an attractive destination for expatriates, and they are thriving in a country with access to a range of unique benefits.”

Vienna retained the top spot in this year’s Quality of Living city ranking, followed closely by Zurich in second, with Auckland and Copenhagen claiming the third and fourth positions, respectively. Geneva rounds out the top five rankings, further highlighting Switzerland's reputation for providing a superior quality of living.

“Mercer’s data shows that countries with a high quality of living provide their citizens and expatriates with access to excellent healthcare, education, infrastructure, and social services as well as affordable housing,” said Yvonne Traber, Partner and Global Mobility Leader, Mercer.

Among the world’s largest metropolitan cities, with populations over ten million, Paris (32nd overall), New York City (40th overall) and London (45th overall) all rank highly in the top 20% of cities overall. Though coveted, popular locations for expats, cities of this size often face some infrastructure challenges.

“The current global landscape is affected by geopolitical turmoil, natural disasters, and other economic challenges, all of which have significant implications for cities and their ability to attract and retain talent. Many employees are reconsidering their priorities and assessing the quality of life provided to them and their families in the places they live and work,” Ms. Traber added.

“For many employers and their employees, having clarity on these factors informs decision-making for both when considering international assignments.”

In response to employers’ interest in sustainability, Mercer ranked the world’s most environmentally-friendly cities. Canberra, Oslo, Adelaide, Helsinki, and Ottawa all ranked highly for a range of recent sustainability efforts, including effective measures to reduce air pollution and improve water availability and potability.

Around the world

In Europe, Vienna takes the top spot as the city with the highest quality of living, known for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. Zurich ranked second overall, owing to its political stability, cleanliness, and excellent infrastructure.

San Francisco (37th overall) ranks first in the United States for its well-developed infrastructure, pleasant climate and great air quality. Montevideo (89th overall) is the top ranked city in Latin America.

Dubai (79th overall) and Abu Dhabi (84th overall) in the UAE lead the rankings in the Middle East, both renowned for their modern infrastructure and diverse expatriate communities. Closely following is Port Louis (88th overall) with the best quality of living in Africa.

First among Asian cities and 29th overall is Singapore, offering a clean and safe environment combined with highly efficient infrastructure. The highest-ranking city in the Pacific is Auckland (3rd overall) owing to its robust healthcare and dynamic cultural scene.