These cities have the best quality of life

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(Julius Jansson, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Rosamond Hutt, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Residents of Zurich enjoy the best quality of life in the world, according to Deutsche Bank’s latest research.

The Swiss city overtook New Zealand’s capital Wellington to claim the top spot in the quality of life category in the bank’s Mapping the World’s Prices 2019 survey.

Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Vienna, Helsinki, Melbourne, Boston, San Francisco and Sydney round out the rest of the top 10.

The report by Deutsche Bank Research looked at costs and living standards, measuring the quality of life in 56 global cities based on a range of factors, including consumer purchasing power, safety, healthcare, cost of living, housing affordability, commutting and pollution.

While European, American and Australian cities offer the highest quality of life, some major European cities have not fared so well. Frankfurt, which held the top spot five years ago, fell four places to 13th this year, while Paris slid two spots to 36th, and London was down six to 41st place.

In fact, when it comes to the highest living standards, smaller global cities seem to have the edge over megacities. Take New York as an example: though ranked 5th for disposable income after rent, it only placed 31st for quality of life.

Overall, the megacities – with the exception of Tokyo – are left languishing in the second half of the list. Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, is at the bottom, followed by Beijing and Manila.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the future of cities?

 

Highest-paying cities

For the eighth edition of its annual survey, Deutsche Bank Research focused on cities experiencing major change over the past five years.

Still one of the world’s most expensive cities, Zurich – the Swiss banking capital – no longer boasts the highest salaries and disposable income after rent.

Thanks to the rapid growth of the US tech sector, that’s now San Francisco, where average salaries have risen 31% since 2018 and 88% over the last five years. As of 2019, average earnings in San Francisco were more than $6,500 per month – 142% more than the average New Yorker’s income.

Over the past five years, San Francisco has climbed seven and 21 places, respectively, in the rankings of salaries and disposable income after rent.

The report also notes that, buoyed by a stronger US economy and dollar, New York, Boston and Chicago have edged Australian and major European cities out of the top five on the salary and disposable income metrics.

“When we started this report back in 2012 the US was a very cheap place internationally and salaries were generally competing to be in the top 10, not dominating the top five as they do today,” the report’s authors write.

Deutsche Bank’s survey also compares costs such as monthly rent and the price of internet access, as well as analyzing extras like the price of a cappuccino, a date night out and an iPhone.

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