Attention expats in Asia: Are you living in Singapore? Well, according to a recent report from Mercer, you should be. Taking into account education, infrastructure, transportation and other crucial factors, Mercer ranks Singapore as the best city in Asia for expatriates and the best worldwide for infrastructure.
The Mercer 2017 Quality of Living survey, which includes 231 cities, considers everything from reliability of drinking water and political stability, to health care and crime in its rankings; Singapore emerged as 25th globally for expatriate life.
Hong Kong Trails at 71st Globally
Western centers accounted for the top 10 cities for quality of living internationally, with Vienna, Austria topping the charts at number one for the eighth year in a row. Japan made its own claim to livability, placing the next five Asian cities in the rankings after Singapore, including Tokyo at 47th, Kobe at 50th, Yokohama coming in 51st, Osaka as 60th and Nagoya was 63rd on the list. Hong Kong came in at number seven in Asia and 71st globally – followed by Seoul, Taipei, and Kuala Lumpur to round out the top ten Asian cities.
Mercer is a global consulting firm specializing in talent, health, retirement and investments and claims its rankings can help “companies and organisations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff.”
While the mainland has attracted more expatriates over the last decade, the people at Mercer didn’t find Chinese cities to be all that attractive. Shanghai came in first among mainland cities at 102nd worldwide, and Beijing was next in line at 119th. Still, the two top tier Chinese towns still bested Bangkok which ranked 131st, Manila which came in 135th, and Jakarta which came in 143rd.
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According to Mercer, it based this 19th edition of its rankings on data compiled between September and November of 2016, and the scores incorporate 39 factors grouped into 10 categories (political, economic, socio-cultural, medical, education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumption, housing and natural environment), all weighted against city-to-city comparisons.
“The success of foreign assignments is influenced by issues such as ease of travel and communication, sanitation standards, personal safety, and access to public services,” Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer and responsible for its quality of living research, said on the report’s release. “Multinational companies need accurate and timely information to help calculate fair and consistent expatriate compensation – a real challenge in locations with a compromised quality of living.”
Reliably the top Asian city according to Mercer, Singapore has moved up just one spot globally since 2015. The report noted a wide disparity in infrastructure and livability in Asian cities, with Dhaka coming in at 214 for infrastructure. Coming in at the bottom of the list for Asia was Tajikistan’s Dushanbe, which ranked 215 out of 231. The worst city in the world for expats, according to the report, is Baghdad.