The Best and Safest Cities in the World

Posted by Mike Tirone - Thursday, May 24th, 2012

It feels good to live in a place that is recognized for its quality. Whatever you may do for a profession or however you make use of your life, much of it is indicative of where you live.

According to Mercer's Quality of Living index, the best places to live and the safest places to live range throughout the world.

But in terms of just the Americas region, Canada takes the cake for both quality of living and personal safety.

Mercer's quality of living index is built upon a 39 criteria grouping within 10 key categories:

 quality of living mercer2

According to Mercer's research,

Canadian cities continue to offer a high quality of living, providing both local and expatriate residents with robust infrastructure and a breadth of easily accessible public services, from public transportation to health care. Relatively low crime levels also help Canadian cities rank highly in personal safety.

Here are the top 5 cities quality of living:

Vancouver (5th overall global rank)

Ottawa (14th)

Toronto (15th)

Montreal (tied 22nd)

Honolulu (29th)

 vancouver english bay

(Vancouver's English Bay courtesy of Wikicommons)

These statistics show that the United States does in fact maintain a high quality of living, but American cities overall offer less in terms of personal safety than Canadian cities do. On top of that, the United States' lingering economic crisis, hesitation to get back into the stock (and housing) market, continuously high unemployment rate, and sinking strength of the nation currency against foreign bills all further impair the quality of living in the U.S.

As for personal safety, the top rankers are still all Canadian cities:

Calgary (tied for 17th overall globally)

Montreal (tied 17th)

Ottawa (tied 17th)

Toronto (tied 17th)

Vancouver (tied 17th)

Calgary skyline (Calgary skyline courtesy of Wikicommons)

The further south you go down the Americas, the quality of living and personal safety levels continue downward as well. Due to the income inequality, economic uncertainty, and political instability in addition to the limited infrastructure, Latin American cities remain at the lower end of Mercer's list.

Central and Latin America, along with the Caribbean, have many draws for tourists with their resort destinations like San Juan, Puerto Rico and Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as the cultural selling points of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Rio de Janiero, Brazil. But aside from those limited cities, the others in the lower Americas have considerably low quality of living.

Cities like Havana, Cuba and Caracas, Venezuela have poor international relations which make the two cities less livable, especially for expatriates. Additionally, high drug trafficking and drug cartels are a relentless major problem for the region, but mostly in Columbia and Mexico, along with child kidnapping.

Worldwide statistics rank Vienna, Austria with the highest quality of living while Luxembourg, Luxembourg has the highest personal safety ranking. For more specific rankings, go to Mercer's Top 5 lists.

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