Cities with the best quality of life: how SA's three big cities fare

13 March 2019 - 12:25 By staff reporter
Durban has outperformed Johannesburg and Cape Town in a list of the cities with the best quality of life.
Durban has outperformed Johannesburg and Cape Town in a list of the cities with the best quality of life.
Image: 123RF/Lcswart

Human-resources consultancy Mercer has released its 2019 list of cities with the best quality of life.

The survey, designed as a tool to help international organisations determine salary levels for expatriate employees, is based on 39 criteria.

These include housing, political stability, crime, leisure, air pollution, infrastructure, the health system, education and the economy.

Topping the list for a 10th consecutive year is Vienna. The Austrian capital was one of eight European cities in the top 10. 

In second place was Zurich, followed in joint third place by Munich, Vancouver and Auckland, New Zealand.

Düsseldorf in Germany took sixth place followed by Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Geneva and Basel.


So how did SA's three big cities rank on the list?

Sadly, neither Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban made it into the top 50 of Mercer's survey.

Durban outperformed its more popular sister cities, ranking 88th on the list.

It was followed by Cape Town in 95th, and Johannesburg in 96th place.

Mercer said that SA's cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town falling one place this year. 


The highest ranking African city is Port Louis in Mauritius, coming in at number 83. Mercer said it was the safest African city.

The only other African city to make in into the top 100 of the list was Victoria in the Seychelles, which ranked in 98th place.

The good news is the five African cities ranked higher than Rio de Janeiro in Brazil (118), Beijing, China (120) and Moscow, Russia (167).

At the other end of the scale, the lowest ranked city was Baghdad at 231. Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, and Sanaa in Yemen were 230th and 229th respectively. – Additional reporting by AFP Relaxnews