British Columbia

Vancouver best place to live in North America: survey

Vancouver enjoys the highest quality of living in North America and the fifth highest in the world, according to the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living survey.

Mercer 2014 Quality of Living ranks Vancouver highest in North America, 5th highest in world

(AP Photo/Tourism British Columbia, Albert Normandin)

Vancouver enjoys the highest quality of living in North America and the fifth highest in the world, according to the 2014 Mercer Quality of Living survey.

The survey, which looked at more than 460 cities worldwide and rated 223 of them, gave Vancouver high marks for cultural diversity, the quality of its medical care and its more than 200 parks.

However, just last month, another survey by Demographia gave Vancouver the dubious distinction of having the second least affordable housing in the world.

In establishing a score for quality of life, the Mercer survey looked at 39 individual indicators, including political stability, crime, medical care, banking services, freedom of the press, education, recreation, housing, transportation and the environment.

Canadian cities dominate North America's top 5

"North American cities offer a high quality of living and are attractive working destinations for companies and their expatriates, the survey said. 

"A wide range of consumer goods are available and infrastructures, including recreational provisions, are excellent."

North America's lowest ranking went to Mexico City.

Top 5 liveable cities in North America

  • Vancouver
  • Ottawa
  • Toronto
  • Montreal
  • San Francisco

Vancouver 5th in world

Internationally Vienna took the top spot, but Vancouver still came in a respectable fifth. 

"European cities enjoy a high overall quality of living compared to those in other regions, the survey said. 

"Healthcare, infrastructure, and recreational facilities are generally of a very high standard. Political stability and relatively low crime levels enable expatriates to feel safe and secure in most locations. The region has seen few changes in living standards over the last year.”

Top 5 liveable cities in the world

  • Vienna, Austria
  • Zurich, Switzerland
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Munich, Germany
  • Vancouver, Canada

At the bottom end of the international scale is Baghdad, which received the lowest quality of life ranking.

Data for the Mercer survey was compiled between September and November 2013, and is updated on a regular basis according to the survey's authors.