According to the website describing details about the study, the rankings are based on data collected between September and November 2006, and 215 cities have been considered in the Quality of Living 2007 rankings. For each city, a "quality of living index" is calculated according to criteria which are are said to include Political and Social Environment, Economic Environment, Socio-Cultural Environment, Medical and Health Considerations, Schools and Education, Public Services and Transport, Recreation, Consumer Goods, Housing, and Natural Environment, and which is supposed to summarize the differences in living standards. The index is normalized for New York City, ranking at place 48, to score a value of 100. Its idea is to assess the quality of living for the delocalized workforce of the globalized markets, and supposed to be used to judge whether an expatriate is entitled to a hardship allowance...
I must say I am impressed, and a little bit positively surprised, to see three German cities among the top-ten cities world-wide!
The top cities in the Americas are Vancouver (3rd), Toronto (15th), Ottawa (tied for 18th), Montreal (22nd), Calgary (24th), Honululu (27th), San Francisco (29th), Boston (36th), Washington DC, Chicago (both 44th), Portland OR (46th), New York City (48th), and Seattle (49th).
Of course, there are some caveats connected with this list. For one thing, as stated on the MHR website, one may distinguish between "quality of living", and "quality of life":
A city with a high quality of living index is a safe and stable one, but it may be lacking the dynamic je ne sais quoi that makes people want to live in world-renowned cities such as Paris, Tokyo, London or New York. [..] What makes one person's quality of life better or worse cannot be quantified in an objective index. Therefore, Mercer's quality of living report reflects only the tangible aspects of living in a city on expatriate assignments, and leaves the question of the quality of one's life to those living it!
The second point is that you may wonder about the error bars attached to the index. I didn't see this discussed anywhere on the website, and I wonder how reliable the decimals of the index as stated in the list can be. Moreover, you may naively expect that the the index shows some Gaussian, bell-shaped distribution - I was surprised that this is not the case, and that it is nearly flat:
Now, of course, the top 50 cities are the upper end of the distribution of 215 cities (unfortunately, I could not find the complete data set) but I would have expected a different picture, and a smoother distribution with a clearer decrease with increasing index. And from this distribution, I would estimate the error in the index on the order of at least 1 point.
But even with such an error, it is quite safe to group Frankfurt among the top ten cities or so - and that's nice!
TAGS: Quality of Living, Frankfurt am Main