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The Best South African cities with quality of life

HR consulting firm Mercer has released its Quality of Living ranking for 2019, looking at the quality of living in more than 450 cities around the world.

The report is aimed at helping multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

Living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:

  • Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.);
  • Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services);
  • Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom);
  • Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution);
  • Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools);
  • Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.);
  • Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure);
  • Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars);
  • Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services);
  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters).

Globally, Vienna tops the ranking for the 10th year running, closely followed by Zurich (2nd), Mercer said.

In joint third place are Auckland, Munich and Vancouver – the highest ranking city in North America for the last 10 years.

Singapore (25), Montevideo (78) and Port Louis (83) retain their status as the highest ranking cities in Asia, South America and Africa respectively.

At the bottom of the list is Baghdad, which Mercer noted has witnessed significant improvements related to both safety and health services in recent years.

3AucklandNew Zealand


“In Africa, Port Louis (83) was the city with the best quality of living and also its safest (59th),” Mercer said.

“It was closely followed for overall quality of living by the South African cities of Durban (88th), Cape Town (95th) and Johannesburg (96th), though these cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town falling one place this year.”

Historically Durban has scored high in the ranking due to its high-quality housing, plentiful recreational offerings and good consumer goods availability, Mercer said.

However, the city’s crime problems keep it from climbing into the top 50

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