Vienna, Austria, home of tiny sausages, is the best place to live on Earth, according to Mercer, a human resource consulting firm that ranks cities annually to help companies determine “compensation packages rationally, consistently and systematically.”
Honolulu, Hawaii is the top U.S. city, surfing in at No. 29.
Clearly, weather and bikini-watching are not part of the ranking equation. But the ability to speak German must be — it’s the primary language spoken in 7 of the top 10 cities.
Other U.S. cities to make the top 50 include San Francisco (30), Boston (36), Chicago and Washington, D.C. (tied, along with Madrid, at 43), New York (47), Seattle (48) and Pittsburgh (49).
No Georgia cities — including but not limited to Atlanta, Remerton and Ty-Ty — made the list.
Canada, our friendly neighbors to the north, have four cities better than Honolulu, according to Mercer.
Cities tourists may want to avoid include Khartoum, Sudan (217), Port-au-Prince, Haiti (218), N’Djamena, Chad (219), and Bangui, Central African Republic (220). Baghdad, Iraq (221) ranks last.
The U.S. is shut out completely from Mercer’s list of 50 safest cities. Once again, German-speaking areas excel, taking 9 of the top 15 spots. Baghdad is last on the safety list too.
The exact method of ranking is a bit mysterious, but Mercer says it ranks living conditions according to 39 factors, including political stability, currency exchange regulations, traffic congestion, availability of food and climate.
If the Euro does go bust, I predict the U.S. will fare better in the 2012 survey.