Quality of Living Trends: 20 Years Later With Mercer’s own worldwide Quality of Living ranking entering its 20th year of publication in 2018, it’s the perfect time to highlight some of the most prominent changes that have been seen throughout the past two decades. Despite the relative stability of most locations in the annual data pool, the 20-year analysis shows notable instances of cities climbing the quality of living ranking throughout the past two decades. The predictability at both the top and bottom of the overall ranking mean that municipalities, urban planners, and academics tend to focus on much more specific aspects of quality of living, such as security, health, sustainability, and sanitation. Over the years, Mercer’s research has shown an increased emphasis on recreational facilities and infrastructure as being primary areas of concern, with “infrastructure” encompassing everything from reliable electricity to drinkable water to public transportation to telecommunication. Cities in Western Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have historically dominated the top of the ranking when it comes to expatriate quality of living. In this year’s ranking, eight of the top 10 highest-ranked cities belonged to Western Europe, while Vienna, Austria, ranked as the city combined with the highest quality of life for the ninth year in a row. Decades of economic and political stability combined a steady flow of investments have allowed medium-sized North-Western European cities to develop a high quality of living over time. However, a more detailed look at the ranking over the past 20 years reveal that a number of cities in emerging countries have made remarkable progress particularly within the Middle Eastern and Asian regions. Furthermore, when looking at larger metropolises in the ranking – cities with more than 5 million inhabitants have to face greater challenges in terms of urbanization, pollution, transportation, or crime than the medium-sized cities that dominate the ranking – we see the emergence of non-Western cities such as Singapore which is now ranked 25th; a remarkable achievement that put it above New York and London in the global ranking. 20-Year Trends in Middle East and Asia Below, you’ll find a list of the Middle Eastern cities which have improved their quality of living ratings the most between 1998 and 2018. Accompanying each city is its precise 20-year quality of living increase percentage: Dubai, United Arab Emirates (12.2% increase in living standard)* Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (12.1% increase in living standard)* Amman, Jordan (6.1% increase in living standard)* In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has witnessed the most pronounced living standard increases in its region. This can be attributed to the country’s continuous efforts to improve its infrastructure, especially its airports and public transportation, as well as focus on creating dynamic new recreational and entertainment facilities. As a result of these many efforts, many international companies have since settled their regional headquarters in this country, causing an influx of expatriates to enter the country as well, and contributing factors to an improved quality of living in the area. Meanwhile, in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese and Indian cities have had some of the highest increases in living standards throughout these 20 years. As two of the fastest growing economies in the world, China and India have made considerable investments in the physical infrastructures of their cities, including airports, public transportation networks, mobile phone connections, and more. Below is a list of the Asian cities which have improved their standards of living the most between 1998 and 2018. Accompanying each city is its precise 20-year quality of living increase percentage: Shanghai, China (15.7% increase in living standard)* New Delhi, India (13.8% increase in living standard)* Guangzhou, China (11.4% increase in living standard)* Mercer’s latest Quality of Living Reports are available, offering unique insights and strategies to help cities improve their quality of living and companies assess hardship issues for their international assignees. Mercer works with cities to analyze their quality of living standards and performs quality of living benchmarking against both international and local cities to highlight strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This helps city leaders to: Address challenges to future development Achieve excellence Attract businesses and globally mobile talent *Note: The percentage shown is the difference in the total index between 1998 and 2018 overall quality of living calculations by taking New York, NY, USA as a base city. The figures have been rounded up to the nearest decimals.