Vancouver tops in North America for quality of life: survey

Mercer has released their annual quality of life rankings for 223 of the top cities around the world, and Canadian cities dominate the North American rankings, led by Vancouver.

The study analyzes 39 factors considered important for city residents.

Vancouver was the top-ranked North American city, according to Mercer, which cited a culturally diverse makeup, with more than one-third of inhabitants born outside Canada. The city’s more than 200 parks were also singled out in the survey, along with the city’s excellent health facilities and sanitation.

Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal round out the top four centres to live in North America, followed by San Francisco at No. 5. Calgary and Edmonton were ranked but their positions weren’t disclosed to media in Mercer’s release.


  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Zurich, Switzerland
  3. Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Munich, Germany
  5. Vancouver, Canada


  1. Vancouver, Canada (5th globally)
  2. Ottawa, Canada (14th globally)
  3. Toronto, Canada (15th globally)
  4. Montreal, Canada (23th globally)
  5. San Francisco, CA, USA (27th globally)

Miami, Houston, St. Louis, Detroit and Mexico City were the least desirable North American cities to live in, according to the study.

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Living in Vancouver — or at least owning a place to live — will cost you a lot, however.

In a separate survey, the Economist recently named Vancouver the most expensive city to live in North America, due to the difference between house prices and local incomes.

Another report from Demographia, a U.S. based urban planner, said the city was the second-most expensive centre in the world.

READ MORE: January price gains strain affordability in big city housing markets

The average home price in Metro Vancouver is $670,000 – which would take 80 per cent of the average local household income to service the mortgage.

The $670,000 figure is for Metro Vancouver, not the City of Vancouver where prices are even higher.

The survey is aimed at large multinational companies, to help them decide what to compensate employees, and for local governments to help them determine their city’s attractiveness.

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