World’s best cities for expats in 2016

CNN  — 

The shock results of the US presidential election have left a lot of disappointed voters considering their options.

But while would-be expats may have caused the Canadian immigration website to crash Tuesday night, the smarter migrant might want to look further afield – to Austria, in fact.

Earlier this year Vienna – the city of strudels, coffee, music and grand architecture – was named the world’s best for expats in 2016.

The Austrian capital ranked in the top spot for overall quality of living in consulting firm Mercer’s 18th annual study of foreign workers’ overseas lifestyles.

For the seventh year running it beat out major international capitals including New York, London, Paris, Hong Kong and Dubai – none of which made it anywhere near the top 20.

Immediately behind Vienna are a slew of other mainly Western European cities, with Zurich, Switzerland in second place and Munich, Germany in fourth.

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European dominance

“Despite recent security issues, social unrest and concern about the region’s economic outlook, European cities continue to offer some of the world’s highest quality of living,” Mercer said in April this year.

The top five is rounded out by New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, and Vancouver on Canada’s west coast.

Singapore is Asia’s highest ranking city, taking 26th place, Dubai claims top ranking for the Middle East at 75, while Africa’s only two destinations to make the top 100 are Cape Town at 92 and Johannesburg at 95.

The study of 440 cities evaluated standards of safety, health, schools, recreation, environment, public services and consumer goods.

New York-based Mercer said in April that financial clouds looming over Europe had failed to dent the continent’s dominance of the 2016 list, while ongoing instability had consigned many Middle Eastern and Africa cities to the bottom rungs.

“Despite economic uncertainties, Western European cities continue to enjoy some of the highest quality of living worldwide; they fill seven places in the top-10 list,” Mercer added.

In sixth place is German city Dusseldorf, followed by Frankfurt in seventh, Geneva at eighth, Copenhagen in ninth and Sydney, Australia making 10th.

At 28, San Francisco is the highest ranking US city, followed by Boston at 34, Honolulu at 35, Chicago at 43 and New York at 45.

Paris, which witnessed two major terror attacks in 2015, is 37 on the list, two stops above London at 39.

It remains to be seen how the UK’s May referendum, in which the country voted to leave the EU, will affect the placement of UK cities on the 2017 list.

Least desirable destinations

Bringing up the rear of the 230 ranked cities are Baghdad (at 230), Central African Republic’s Bangui (229), Sana’a, Yemen (228), Port-au-Prince, Haiti (227) and Khartoum, Sudan (226).

Mercer also ranked cities for delivering personal safety with Luxembourg taking top honors, jointly followed by Swiss capital Bern, Helsinki and Zurich.

Baghdad also came bottom of that list, with Damascus, the capital of civil war-ravaged Syria, just behind at 229.

This story was originally published in April 2016 and updated in November 2016.