VIENNA (REUTERS) - Singapore topped consulting firm Mercer's list of cities in Asia offering the highest quality of life, and its infrastructure was deemed the best in the world.
Vienna, Austria's grand capital on the Danube river, was the world's best place to live for the eighth year in a row, while Baghdad was again considered the worst. Globally, Singapore was ranked No 25.
Mercer's 2017 Quality of Living survey of 231 cities helps companies and organisations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. It uses dozens of criteria such as political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.
Notably, Singapore was No 1 in the world for city infrastructure, followed by Frankfurt and Munich both in second place. City infrastructure, ranked separately this year, plays an important role when multinationals decide where to establish locations abroad and send expatriate workers, said Mercer.
Easy access to transportation, reliable electricity, and drinkable water are all important considerations when determining hardship allowances based on differences between a given assignee's home and host locations.
Global centres London, Paris, Tokyo and New York City did not even make the top 30, lagging behind most big German, Scandinavian, Canadian, New Zealand and Australian cities.
San Francisco at No 29 was the United States' highest entry. Top of the list in Africa was South Africa's Durban at 87.
Vienna's 1.8 million inhabitants benefit from the city's cafe culture and museums, theatres and operas. Rents and public transport costs in the city, whose architecture is marked by its past as the centre of the Habsburg empire, are cheap compared with other western capitals.
Switzerland's Zurich, New Zealand's Auckland, Germany's Munich and Canada's Vancouver followed Vienna in the top five of most pleasant cities to live in.
Baghdad was again ranked lowest in the world. Waves of sectarian violence have swept through the Iraqi capital since the US-led invasion in 2003.
Six years into Syria's bloody war, Damascus was ranked seventh from bottom, with Bangui in the Central African Republic, Yemeni capital Sanaa, Haiti's Port-au-Prince, Sudan's Khartoum and Chad's N'Djamena filling out the end of the list.
With additional information from The Straits Times