Switzerland’s largest city is ranked second in the 2012 survey released on Tuesday, just behind Vienna, Austria and ahead of Auckland (New Zealand), Munich and Vancouver.
Geneva is rated in eighth place, while Bern, the Swiss capital, is in 10th place in a global list dominated by European cities, particularly in the area of infrastructure, despite economic problems in the eurozone.
“Overall, European cities continue to have high quality of living as a result of a combination of increased stability, rising living standards and advanced city infrastructures,” Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, said in a statement on the company’s website.
“But economic turmoil, political tension and high unemployment in some European countries and high levels of unemployment have continued to be problematic in the region.”
Mercer conducts the quality of life survey annually to help multinational companies and other organizations pay employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.
Its quality of living index list covers 221 cities, ranked against New York as the base city.
This year’s ranking separately identifies the cities with the best infrastructure based on electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transportation, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports.
Surprisingly, perhaps, given Switzerland’s reputation for good infrastructure, Swiss cities did not fare as well in this category as in the overall quality of life assessment.
Singapore is ranked number one for infrastructure followed by German cities Frankfurt and Munich.
Zurich only ranks 24th in this category, while Bern is 25th and Geneva 47th.
Earthquake ravaged Port-au-Prince in Haiti is considered the worst of the 221 cities surveyed for infrastructure.
Baghdad in Iraq is at the bottom of the list for overall quality of life.