Bern and Copenhagen Head Global Liveability Index for Europeans

Bern and Copenhagen are the most liveable locations for Europeans according to the latest Location Ratings for expatriate living conditions published by ECA International.

“Good air quality, solid infrastructure, decent medical facilities, low crime and health risks have contributed to Bern and Copenhagen topping the global ranking for quality of living for European assignees,” said Neil Ashman of ECA International.

This location ratings system evaluates a host of factors to form an assessment of the overall quality of living in over 450 locations worldwide. The system helps companies establish appropriate allowances to compensate employees for the adjustment required when going on international assignment.

Factors assessed include climate; availability of health services; housing and utilities; isolation; access to a social network and leisure facilities; infrastructure; personal safety; political tensions and air quality.

Bern and Copenhagen are followed by The Hague in the ranking for European assignees. However, the impact of some of the factors assessed, such as distance from home and differences in culture, language and climate, will vary according to where someone comes from.

“Where an employee is going from and to can affect the level of adaptation required on the part of the assignee for some of the factors we measure,” explained Ashman. “For this reason, our analysis takes into account both the home and destination countries. So, while Copenhagen and Bern rank at the top for Europeans they fall to 7th and 11th, respectively for someone coming from Asia. For Asian expatriates, Singapore is the most liveable location while someone expatriating from North America will find it easiest to adapt to living and working in Toronto followed by Dublin.”

The locations to see the biggest movement up and down the global ranking were both in Europe: Tirana (175th) in Albania has seen the biggest improvement this survey largely due to a significant upgrade in its education score. Kiev saw the largest deterioration in its score following the unrest there. It fell from 134th place in the ranking to 161st.

Chisinau, Moldova, ranked 192nd, is Europe’s least liveable city.

In North America, Toronto (30th) is the most liveable location followed by Vancouver (32). While in Latin America, Chile's Santiago (108) scores more favourably for European assignees, followed by the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo (112).

Canberra is the best scoring locations in Australia (41st globally) followed by Adelaide (49th). Wellington, in 39th place is the most liveable New Zealand location surveyed.

Singapore (96th globally), is the Asian city that offers the best quality of living for European assignees followed by the Japanese city of Osaka (97th). Beijing (143) and New Delhi (210) have the worst score for air quality globally.

Tel Aviv (108th globally) is the location in the Middle East which requires the least adjustment for European assignees overall, followed by Dubai (115).

For European assignees going to Africa, Port Louis, Mauritius, (116) affords the best quality of living followed by Cape Town (118).

Significant deterioration in scores were also seen in Freetown (Sierra Leone), Monrovia (Liberia), Tripoli (Libya), Sana’a (Yemen) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso).

Globally, the hardest locations to adapt to living and working in are the Afghan locations of Lashkar Gah and Kandahar.