U.S. cities get no love in worldwide quality of living survey

The euro may be going the way of the aurochs, but that doesn’t stop the old country from mopping up on the latest Worldwide Quality of Living Survey.

A scene from the best city on Earth -- Vienna, Austria.

A scene from the best city on Earth -- Vienna, Austria.

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.

* See the complete list.

43 comments Add your comment

Makes no sense

December 4th, 2011
4:53 pm

Dose of Reality

December 4th, 2011
5:56 pm

Is there any surprise that American cities didn’t make the grade? Poor Schools, Traffic Nightmares, Too Much Pride, Too Much Gun Violence, Lack of “Real Culture”, Lack of actual Freedom ( Despite all of the Bill of Right and Ten Amendment Blah, Blah, Blah), etc.
With the current Government status in this Country, it will be another “Baghdad” in our Grand kids or perhaps even with our Kids life time.

Has to be said

December 4th, 2011
6:21 pm

The whitest cities are near the top of the list (except for DC). The darkest cities are near the bottom.

MiltonMan

December 4th, 2011
6:36 pm

Yes all the cities/towns in GA are terrible. Please convey this message to all the those in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, etc., etc. that keep moving here.

Reality

December 4th, 2011
6:36 pm

Whitest Cities? Honolulu, San Francisco, Chicago, New York??? You mean most progressive and liberal! Because all the the red states are on the bottom.

Homeless Joe

December 4th, 2011
7:43 pm

I thinks Atlanta is #1!

Guest

December 4th, 2011
7:46 pm

Waiting for someone to blame Obama.

fitzgerald

December 4th, 2011
7:56 pm

Ty Ty not making the best quality of living places in the world? Not my beloved Ty Ty. With a name like that, it has to be in the top 10 best.

3rd party

December 4th, 2011
8:29 pm

Reality, the whitest cities meaning European. The darkest meaning African and Islamic. I feel bad that someone has to explain this to you.

KJ

December 4th, 2011
9:04 pm

“Yes all the cities/towns in GA are terrible. Please convey this message to all the those in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, etc., etc. that keep moving here.”

This.

Fans of freezing their butts off should love this list (with the exception of Honolulu, which has roughly zero non-tourism jobs)

Blonde Republican

December 4th, 2011
9:41 pm

3rd party you dumb ass.. white people are the minority in both Honolulu and San Francisco. The top U.S. cities. And the top Euro cities are extremely diverse. Pity you have to try to find something to hide your shortcomings.

scott

December 5th, 2011
12:10 am

Seattle ..has to be the best city in america well ran ,open minded ,seemingly educated, and ABSOLUTLY FREAKIN BEAUTIFUL!!!WITH A VERY VIBRANT DOWNTOWN WITH HIGH END STORES AND SHOPS and resturaunts ..Atlanta continues to become stagnant,and tumble down hill,as uneducated folks from the slums of the north continue to move here and the economy in georgia continues to suck(thanks republicans) Atlanta reminds me of Detroit in the 70,s as Detroit strated its freefall and look at it now..Charlotte is the place right now in the southeast and Seattle is america,s greatest city..as i look at it as a plaace to retire

Shawanda

December 5th, 2011
12:05 pm

“…the ability to speak German must be — it’s the primary language spoken in 7 of the top 10 cities.”

The fact that the United States has provided security for Western Europe for the last 65 years, allowing them to spend virtually nothing on defense, may have something to do with that. But I digress.

UncleRukkus

December 5th, 2011
7:34 pm

So much for “AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM”.

Kev

December 5th, 2011
7:41 pm

“Whitest Cities? Honolulu, San Francisco, Chicago, New York??? You mean most progressive and liberal! Because all the the red states are on the bottom.”

There’s a reason those Red States are at the bottom.

Robitussin Sudafed

December 5th, 2011
7:41 pm

The Atl aint nutin like Detwot

Toby

December 5th, 2011
7:52 pm

If the Euro goes bust the US might rank higher, hmmm… maybe, but by the same token, if the US does not reinstate the kind of regulations which prevent economic depressions & recessions, it will remain an oligarchy with a massive working class of people lacking intelligence, happiness & health, & a very small ruling class of ultra-wealthy people. Without tax-funded healthcare & an improvement in education the US will remain the place from whence big movies & internet companies come, but still a place too lacking well-being for the average individual.

Tommy Maddox

December 5th, 2011
7:54 pm

Vancouver is 5th? That undersea fault line being out there would change my mind.

Manchurian-Kenyan Candidate

December 5th, 2011
8:00 pm

Please, by all means….leave Atlanta, Georgia, and the US for that matter. One less America-hating liberal to put up with!!!

Jimmy G

December 5th, 2011
8:03 pm

The only people surprised at this are people who have never been to Europe.

I was in Munich and locked out of my friend’s apartment at 1:00 in the morning. Standing on the sidewalk, saw a women with a flat tire. Helped her fix it. Told her of my situation…she took me home with her. All sorts of romantic things wend through my head. Not so. She just took me home to give me a place to stay for the night. Woke up the next morning and had breakfast with her husband and kids, and he took me back to my friend’s apt.

That happens there because people feel safe and will help you. Here? You know the answer.

Native Atlantan

December 5th, 2011
8:09 pm

There is only one thing Atlanta seems to be known for in this country, and the rest of the world just doesnt give a dam.

Cujo Bendi

December 5th, 2011
8:16 pm

Chicago is a miserable bitter cold dump. Not sure who is making up these lists. Miami Beach is just about my favorite place on earth. America is too obsessed with guns and cars and strip malls, being fat and freeways. That’s why we didn’t get a good rating I guess.

ls1z28chris

December 5th, 2011
8:19 pm

Why is Atlanta surprised? World of Coke, Aquarium, Zoo. All of it a long drive through traffic. Unless you want to stay in the city and get raped like a Georgia Tech or GSU student.

You might get raped or robbed in New Orleans, but at least you’ll see some interesting culture. Unlike Atlanta. “Oh look, another blue glass building full of yuppies. Wow. Oh look, the home of another mediocre sports team. Wow. See kids, that is where the Thrashers used to play until they ran screaming back to some third rate Canadian town.”

Cujo Bendi

December 5th, 2011
8:20 pm

Scott, go live in Seattle and take your anti-depressants as it rains almost every day of the year.

Tyler Durden

December 5th, 2011
8:46 pm

Home is where you make it.

Neil Beck

December 5th, 2011
8:49 pm

Macon rules cause it’s full of fools! Yeah Macon. 40% h.s. gradiashun rate! yippee!

Craig Ashwood

December 5th, 2011
8:50 pm

I’m Australian, but have by choice and necessity (hey, my 15 year old son was born in Lawrenceville!) made Atlanta my home for now and the future.

I love it here, because of my friends and family, now. Atlanta’s people make a huge difference to quality of life. When I first moved here for radio work in 1980, it was very much a provincial Southern town, but NOW–wow–there’s a lot we can do to “increase our rating” if you ask me…

So, ask me! Having lived in Sydney (my hometown), and visited Auckland, New Zealand (KILLER place, so cool)–there’s things we can do here in our land-locked environment to make our ranking grow, if that’s important.

Tom

December 5th, 2011
8:54 pm

You people bad mouthing Atlanta and the US, please get out of here. I am sure you are just some transplanted yankees. You come here because you have a job here then you sit around and talk trash about it. Please leave, the people that love atlanta don’t want you here!

kerryb

December 5th, 2011
8:55 pm

Sounds like a biased study to me. Best places on earth speak German, eat sausages, and drink beer, and are freezing in the winter. Yea, right. Apparently the person doing the study must be an America hater.

Tom

December 5th, 2011
8:55 pm

Seattle might be beautiful but the weather sucks and it is full of liberals which I could not deal with.

Brian

December 5th, 2011
8:57 pm

My god this is a horribly written blurb. Sometimes I wonder if AJC writers ever read what they’ve written before you click ’send’.

gfg

December 5th, 2011
9:09 pm

of course the us is left out of the list. anyone who has traveled out of the US can tell you how much nicer asian and european cities are.

where atl

December 5th, 2011
9:12 pm

Atlanta didn’t make the “best cities in the world” list?? surely, you can’t be serious?? the fraud, waste and corruption in this city rivals detroit, newark and some other cities in the world. Is there a list for that???

Deal With IT

December 5th, 2011
9:29 pm

In order for Atlanta to correct itself…is…get rid of the crime. I am sick of it.

bev

December 5th, 2011
9:50 pm

No surprise here. Atlanta sucks!!!

ron c

December 5th, 2011
9:57 pm

ron…worry about yourself you moron.

"Vote For Obama Because He's Black"

December 5th, 2011
9:58 pm

Atlanta is all black and all gay,full of folks that come from small hick towns and folks from Jersey,Detroit,NY,who find out they can get a section 8.4 bedroom house for $200 a month in Lithonia.
They got money left over to pay for a Benz,rent some rims,cruise around buckhead thinking they are all that.
You can’t roll like that in educated top notch metros like DC,San Fran,LA,Manhatten,or Boston.Takes some real smarts and a good education,not one from Morris Brown or Dekalb Tech.
Too expensive for these clowns here.They’d get laughed at too.
Bunch of women here like RHOA wiearing weaves with loud mouths and no class.
That’s ATL.

Sensible

December 5th, 2011
10:01 pm

As usual when ever there is a political topic on the AJC.com it brings out a furry of racist, bigoted comments. Is there any wonder why ATL and the U.S. cities in general did not make this list? I lived in Zurich, Switzerland for a year, incredible DIVERSITY of all races, amazing culture where intellectualism is celebrated, clean, green – everything is recycled, and a government that is very much for the people, not the corporations and the wealthy Oligarchs. All this racist, Red/Blue, Liberal/Conservative, anti-intellectualism, anti-immigrant, B.S. is destroying foundations of the U.S. Divided we fall. Think outside the FOX! Wake Up America!

Tayek

December 5th, 2011
10:02 pm

For those of you playing the race card (I’m black by the way), I must ask, don’t you think the cities at the bottom of the list are really indeed safe places? I am of African and Caribbean descent, and I can tell you that places like Kinshasa, Bangui, and parts of Kingston are not places with great qualities of life. Sure, it’s sad that these places are majority black populations, but truth is truth. Many of us from Africa would never walk around parts of even Johannesburg. If you think you can go to these places and waive your “African-American” flag and think that you would be accepted with open arms, fahgetaboutit!!

Tayek

December 5th, 2011
10:03 pm

Ammended

For those of you playing the race card (I’m black by the way), I must ask, do you think the cities at the bottom of the list are really indeed safe places? I am of African and Caribbean descent, and I can tell you that places like Kinshasa, Bangui, and parts of Kingston are not places with great qualities of life. Sure, it’s sad that these places are majority black populations, but truth is truth. Many of us from Africa would never walk around parts of even Johannesburg. If you think you can go to these places and waive your “African-American” flag and think that you would be accepted with open arms, fahgetaboutit!!

Lulzorz

December 5th, 2011
10:06 pm

Thank you, Sensible, for being sensible.

"Vote For Obama Because He's Black"

December 5th, 2011
10:13 pm

@Tayek. What’s even funnier is how arrogant uppity black Americans act. And yes,if they went overseas to any foreign country they would be immediately identified as Americans.They should be happy to be in the US and actually do something to make their communities safer,schools better,and attract businesses other than hair braiding ,smoke shops,rim shops,and fried chicken restaurants.

Native Atlantan

December 6th, 2011
12:02 am

Problem is Atlanta is just too dark, and I dont mean at night. Too many folks swimming accross the Rio Grande too.