Prague leads CEE for quality of living

Europe dominated the top of the annual list, but the West is far ahead of the East

Prague ranks 69th in the 2019 Quality of Living Ranking by human resources consulting firm Mercer. The showing was the best among cities in Central and Eastern Europe (the former communist-era Eastern bloc), but Western Europe dominated the top of the chart.

Prague has held the 69th spot for three years in a row, though there has been a lot of movement from the other listed cities, so this is a bit of a statistical anomaly.

Vienna was ranked number one and has held the top spot for 10 years in a row. It was followed by Zürich, Switzerland, which was also second in the 2018 ranking. Munich, Germany, tied with Auckland, New Zealand, and Vancouver, Canada, for third place.

Cities in Germany, Denmark and Switzerland completed the top 10.

San Francisco was the highest ranked city in the United States, at 34th place. Baghdad, Iraq, was in last place out of the 231 ranked cities.

Prague was the only Czech city considered in the ranking. The next best city in the CEE region was Ljubljana, Slovenia, at 74th place, followed by Budapest, Hungary, at 76th and Bratislava, Slovakia, at 80th.

“European cities continue to have the highest quality of living in the world, with Vienna (1), Zurich (2) and Munich (3) not only ranking first, second and third in Europe, but also globally. As many as 13 of the world’s top 20 spots were taken by European cities,” Mercer said in a press release.

“The major European capitals of Berlin (13), Paris (39) and London (41) remained static in the rankings this year, while Madrid (46) rose three places and Rome (56) climbed one. Minsk (188), Tirana (175) and St. Petersburg (174) remained the lowest ranking cities in Europe this year, while Sarajevo (156) rose three places due to a fall in reported crime,” Mercer added.

The survey takes into account 39 factors in 10 categories: recreation, housing, economic environment, consumer goods availability, public services and transportation, political and social environment, natural environment, socio-cultural environment, school and education, and medical and health considerations.

Safety, though, has been becoming a big factor for many people.

“The safest city in Europe was Luxembourg (1), followed by Basel, Bern, Helsinki and Zurich in joint second. Moscow (200) and St. Petersburg (197) were Europe’s least safe cities this year. The biggest fallers in Western Europe between 2005 and 2019 were Brussels (47), due to recent terrorist attacks, and Athens (102), reflecting its slow recovery from economic and political upheaval following the global financial crisis,” Mercer said.

The safety ranking for Prague was not specified.

Economic analyst Lukáš Kovanda told TV Nova that safety was a big attraction for people to relocate to Prague.

"Prague is characterized by its very low crime rate, which increases the overall security and thus the quality of life. At the same time, the Czech capital has very good public transport that people are familiar with. The price is low and the price to performance ratio is good,” Kovanda said.

He also praised the recreation factors, pointing out that the city has 20 percent green spaces and 12 large natural parks. Aside from outdoor recreation, there is also a large network of theaters for live entertainment, he added.

The data used in the ranking was analyzed between September and November 2018.

The scores are based on weighted values for each of the 39 factors to reflect their importance to expatriates and permit objective city-to-city comparisons.

Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, a global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people.

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