Durban retains its top position as the best city in South Africa

Port Louis Mauritius is in 83rd place in the global rankings and number one in Africa according to a 2018 Quality of Living Survey by Marsh & McLennan Companies. The Mauritian city is followed by Durban (89), Cape Town (94) and Johannesburg (95).

A city’s place in the rankings is dependent on local living conditions, which are analysed according to a wide variety of factors which reflect their importance to expatriates. Appropriate infrastructure, health facilities, safety and security are some of the important aspects that make a city attractive to both talent and businesses.

The Mercer Quality of Living survey, which was first published in 1994, is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

South Africa’s top three cities

Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg still feature in the top 100 cities.

Global ranking

Vienna tops the ranking for the 9th year running and is followed by Zurich (2), Auckland and Munich in joint 3rd place. In 5th place, Vancouver completes the top five and is the highest ranking city in North America. Singapore (25), Dubai (74) and Montevideo (77), are the highest ranking cities in Asia, Middle East and Latin America, respectively. 

This year, Mercer provides a separate ranking on City Sanitation, which analyses cities’ waste removal and sewage infrastructure, levels of infectious disease, air pollution, water availability and quality, which are equally important to those who choose to work and live in these cities.

Victoria (58th) ranks highest on the African continent for City Sanitation, followed by Durban (73) and Port Louis (80). Johannesburg is in 81st place, while Cape Town is at 84 on the City Sanitation list.

Honolulu tops the City Sanitation ranking, followed by Helsinki and Ottawa in joint second.

Mercer’s Quality of Living survey has become a critical point of reference for multinational companies, which need a full view of the conditions on the ground, allowing multinational employers to provide their expatriates with fair and consistent expatriate compensation packages when looking to expand into other markets.

Mercer produces individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports for each city surveyed.

For more information on city rankings, visit their website