Baghdad lands in at last on latest Mercer quality of living index

15 March 2019 3 min. read

Iraqi capital Baghdad has landed dead-last on Mercer’s latest quality of living cities index, listed below both Damascus and Sana'a in Yemen.

Among a survey of nearly 500 major cities worldwide by human capital consultancy Mercer, Iraq’s war-ravaged capital Baghdad has been deemed as having the lowest quality of living – behind even those still in the immediate grip of conflict, such as Damascus and Sana'a in Yemen. The 21st edition of the annual survey was again dominated this year by cities in the DACH region, with Vienna claiming the top spot for the tenth year running.

Taking into account a large range of inputs in categories such as the political and social situation, economic landscape, public services, housing, healthcare, education and the natural environment of cities around the world, Baghdad ranked last overall – immediately below Bangui of the Central African Republic and Damascus in Syria – despite the two being determined as the least safest cities on the planet for personal safety. In fact, the report noted Baghdad’s significant improvements in this regard.

The ten cities assessed as having the lowest quality of living globally were concentrated in the Middle East and Central Africa (with the exception of Haitian capital Port au Prince and Conakry in Guinea on the West African coast); Baghdad, in addition to Damascus and Sana'a, further joined at the bottom of the list by Khartoum (Sudan), N’Djamena (Chad) Brazzaville (Congo) and Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo).Baghdad lands in at last on latest Mercer quality of living survey“The security of the individual is informed by a wide range of factors and is constantly in flux, as the circumstances and conditions in cities and countries change year over year,” commented Mercer Prinicpal Slagin Parakatil. “These factors are crucial for multinationals to consider when sending employees abroad because they consider any concerns around the expat’s own safety and can have a significant impact on the cost of international compensation programmes.”

On the other end of the scale, the top ten cities for quality of living remain largely unchanged, with seven of those located in Austria, Germany or Switzerland (collectively known as the DACH region), while Dubai continues to lead the rankings for the Middle East, in 71st spot overall – despite remaining one of the most expensive cities worldwide on Mercer’s other noted cost of living index.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Abu Dhabi, where Mercer itself recently launched a new office, follows closely behind Dubai in 78th, while Riyadh has climbed one spot to 164th, thanks in part to newly available options for entertainment, such as its landmark re-opening of cinemas across the Kingdom. Muscat (105), Doha (110), Amman (120), Kuwait City (126), and Manama (136) all fell in the middle, while Jeddah was just behind Riyadh and Beirut languishes in 184th, struggling to overcome Lebanon’s long-term economic woes and issues such as a failing waste management system.

“Strong, on-the-ground capabilities are integral to the global operations of most international businesses and are in large part driven by the personal and professional well-being of the individuals that companies place in those locations,” said Mercer’s Career business president and senior partner Ilya Bonic. "Companies looking to expand overseas have a host of considerations when identifying where best to locate staff and new offices.”