According to Mercer's 2008 Quality of Living survey, European cities dominate the rankings of locations with the best quality of living, while İstanbul ranks 114th. Last year İstanbul was in 121st place. Zurich retains its 2007 title as the top location for overall quality of living, followed by a tie between Vienna and Geneva and then by Vancouver and Auckland.
The rankings are based on a point scoring index, which sees Zurich scoring 108, while İstanbul scores 74.7. Baghdad ranks the lowest among world cities in terms of quality of living, with a score of 13.5. Cities are compared to New York as the base city, with an index score of 100. The survey is conducted to help governments and major companies in placing employees on international assignments.
The survey also identifies the cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, crime, effectiveness of law enforcement and relationships with other countries. Luxembourg is top, followed by Bern, Geneva, Helsinki and Zurich, all equally placed at number two. Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are among the safest cities in the US, all ranking at 53. Baghdad is the world’s least safe city along with Kinshasa (214), Karachi (213), Nairobi (212) and Bangui (211). Luxembourg scores 131.4 on the index while Baghdad scores 3.8.
Mercer’s study is based on detailed assessments of 39 key quality of living determinants, grouped in such categories as political and social environment, economic environment, socio-cultural environment, health and sanitation, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, customer goods, housing and natural environment.
In the meantime, in a separate study by MasterCard, London was selected as the world’s top center of commerce among cities that were rated by how they influence the global economy. The British capital eclipsed second-place New York, which was held back by bond market regulations that affect the volume of listed sales, a more volatile US currency and by a US economy that was considered to be less stable than Britain’s economy, MasterCard said. Istanbul was the 64th city among the 75 rated.