Chicago Ranks Fourth Among U.S. Cities for Quality of Life

by James F. McClister


It might seem like an exaggeration to say that quality of life in the city is better than most other places in the U.S., but according to Mercer (the world’s largest human resources consulting firm) it’s the truth.

In its 18th annual Quality of Life Survey, the consulting firm evaluated the living conditions in more than 440 cities worldwide, considering an array of criteria from “schools and education” to “political and social environment” to “public services and transportation.”

What played the biggest role in determining top quality, however, was safety.

“Heightened domestic and global security threats, population displacement resulting from violence, and social unrest in key business centres around the world are all elements adding to the complex challenges facing multinational companies when analyzing the safety and health of their expatriate workforces,” said Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Talent business.

In its rankings, Chicago came in at No. 43. Considering only U.S. metros, the city was fourth only to San Francisco, which managed the No. 28 spot, and Boston (34) and Honolulu (35).

Though Chicago is a city in strife, struggling through extreme bouts of gang violence, the ranking is a testament to the how far Illinois’ biggest metro has come.

Other U.S. cities mentioned in Mercer’s survey included New York City (44), Seattle (46) and Los Angeles (49), among others.

To see the full top 50, check out our table below.

Rank Metro Country
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
6 Dusseldorf Germany
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark
10 Sydney Australia
11 Amsterdam Netherlands
12 Wellington New Zealand
13 Berlin Germany
14 Bern Switzerland
15 Toronto Canada
15 Melbourne Australia
17 Ottawa Canada
18 Hamburg Germany
19 Luxembourg Luxembourg
19 Stockholm Sweden
21 Brussels Belgium
21 Perth Australia
23 Montreal Canada
24 Stuttgart Germany
24 Nurnberg Germany
26 Singapore Singapore
27 Adelaide Australia
28 San Francisco United States
28 Canberra Australia
30 Helsinki Finland
30 Oslo Norway
32 Calgary Canada
33 Dublin Ireland
34 Boston United States
35 Honolulu United States
36 Brisbane Australia
37 Paris France
38 Lyon France
39 Barcelona Spain
39 London United Kingdom
41 Milan Italy
42 Lisbon Portugal
43 Chicago United States
44 New York City United States
44 Tokyo Japan
46 Edinburgh United Kingdom
46 Kobe Japan
46 Seattle United States
49 Los Angeles United States
49 Yokohama Japan

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