London ranks 40th in the world for quality of living, but Brexit could threaten that in the future

Courtney Goldsmith
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London 2012 - Generic London Landmarks
Traffic congestion dragged London down in the survey (Source: Getty)

London ranked 40th in Mercer's latest quality of living survey while nabbing sixth place in a new measure for city infrastructure, but the global consulting firm warned Brexit could impact the capital's future ranking.

Mercer surveyed 450 cities around the world based on 38 different factors, including the political and economic environment, public services and healthcare.

As the top-ranked UK city in both measures, London has a lot going for it, but heavy traffic congestion, which led to a low score for air quality and pollution, was its downfall, said Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader for the UK & Ireland.

Fitzpatrick said:

All UK cities remain attractive locations for multi national companies and their employees as they continue to rank highly for quality of living.

London leads the pack in both the overall quality of living and this year’s supplementary city infrastructure ranking, with its multiple international airports and a large and comprehensive public transport network. The capital’s only downfall in regard to infrastructure is heavy traffic congestion, which also contributes to the city’s low score for air quality and pollution.

Read more: London ranks 39th in the world for quality of living

However, Brexit could become a sticking point in future surveys, Fitzpatrick warned.

“Mercer will continue to closely monitor any impact of the upcoming Brexit negotiations on the quality of living in UK and European cities overall, in order to support multinational companies as they assess the best locations to attract the skilled workforce they require," she said.

Europe dominates the quality of living list

​Despite increased political and financial volatility in Europe over the past year, European cities have managed to dominate the top of Mercer's 19th annual quality of living survey.

Vienna, Austria, topped the list, followed by Zurich, Switzerland, and Auckland, New Zealand.

Mercer's 2017 quality of living survey
1. Vienna, Austria
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Auckland, New Zealand
4. Munich, Germany
5. Vancouver, Canada
6. Dusseldorf, Germany
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Geneva, Switzerland
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Basel, Switzerland

Infrastructure breaks away

Western European cities also took most of the top places in the city infrastructure ranking, which was measured separately for the first time. While Singapore topped the list, Frankfurt and Munich were jointly in the second spot, and London took sixth place.

This new measure took into account each city's supply of electricity and drinking water, telephone services and transportation access.

Read more: The case for an infrastructure spending splurge rests on shaky foundations

"A city’s infrastructure, or rather the lack thereof, can considerably affect the quality of living that expatriates and their families experience on a daily basis," said Slagin Parakatil, principal at Mercer.

"Cities that rank high in the city infrastructure list provide a combination of top-notch local and international airport facilities, varied and extended coverage through their local transportation networks, and innovative solutions such as smart technology and alternative energy," he said.

Mercer's 2017 city infrastructure ranking
1. Singapore
2. Frankfurt, Germany
2. Munich, Germany
4. Copenhagen, Denmark
5. Dusseldorf, Germany
6. Hong Kong
6. London, UK
8. Sydney, Australia
9. Hamburg, Germany
9. Vancouver, Canada
9. Zurich, Switzerland

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