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Zurish had been top of the ranking for the last seven years

Vienna has the best standard of living in world

Vienna offers the best quality of life of any city in the world, according to consulting firm Mercer's influential annual survey.

It ends Zurich's seven year reign as the highest ranked city.

Vienna moved up to first from its tied number two spot with Geneva last year ending Zurich's seven year reign at the head of the list and holding off Geneva which slipped to third in this year's report.

Vienna's political stability and low risk of terror attacks over the last ten years have steadily increased Vienna's ranking in the Mercer survey, which covers 215 cities and is conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments.

The current financial crisis is thought to have had an effect on this years rankings. Mercer said in its report summary: "The quality of living in many regions last year has been affected as demonstrated by serious political turmoil, increasing unrest and instability, health and climatic concerns.

"The global financial crisis has intensified in 2008, becoming an area of increasing international concern. The effects of various rescue plans being implemented are yet to be known."

Eight years after the EU sanctions placed against Austria, the country is now ranked as a country with a stable democracy with a fully functioning and fair legal system.      

Other top cities to live were following Vienna and the Swiss pair were Vancouver in forth and Auckland in fifth.

In the Mercer infrastructure ranking Munich came in second to Singapore.

Mercer researcher Slagin Parakatil said: "Infrastructure has a significant effect on the quality of living experienced by expatriates.

"Whilst often taken for granted when functioning to a high standard, a city’s infrastructure can generate severe hardship when it is lacking. Companies need to provide adequate allowances to compensate their international workers for these and other hardships."

This year’s ranking also identifies the cities with the best infrastructure based on electricity supply, water availability, telephone and mail services, public transport provision, traffic congestion and the range of international flights from local airports.

The quality of living rankings are based on a point-scoring index, which sees Vienna score 108.6, and Baghdad 14.4. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city with an index score of 100.

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