[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 15:04 GMT
What's it like where you live?
A young Iraqi boy sits as Shiite Muslims pray in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Sadr City
Probably unsurprising but a recent survey states Baghdad's quality of life as the worst in the world.

Mercer Human Resource Consulting analysed 215 cities worldwide considering factors such as hospital and medical supplies availability, air pollution, sewage systems and presence of harmful animals and insects.

London was ranked 11th out of the 15 European Union capitals, only ahead of Madrid, Lisbon, Rome and Athens.

Zurich and Geneva came out top with the best quality of life, while Calgary in Canada is the healthiest place to live.

What's life like where you live - do you feel you have quality of life? What do you think of the survey?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Emphasis on hygiene explains Frankfurt's ranking. As to Zurich, the Viennese say their main graveyard is half as big as Zurich and twice as funny.
Jukka Luoma, Berlin, Germany

Fresh air and scenery are all very well but you can't eat them
Lorraine, Vancouver, Canada
I am originally from London and have lived in Vancouver for six years. Fresh air and scenery are all very well but you can't eat them. Jobs are hard to come by and salaries are low while property prices are extremely high and climbing. Not to mention the fact that Vancouver is not in the same league as London for nightlife and things to do. I am planning to return to London and return when I am rich and want a quiet life!
Lorraine, Vancouver, Canada

Who did this survey? It seems like it was done by rich people for other rich people. It ignored many problems, like finding affordable housing and such. Try finding a cheap flat in Zùrich or in Geneva. It's impossible.
Edward, Holland

I've just moved to Geneva, and having lived in London for several years, there hasn't been a nano-second since when I've wanted to go back. Even visiting London for a weekend (as I did yesterday) made me homesick for Geneva. Give me fresh air, the skiing, polite people (need I go on) any day.
Gus, Geneva, Switzerland

I disagree with the surveys. I lived in Switzerland for two years and the only entertainment is cows and mountains. London is more vibrant and multicultural, and probably has far more opportunities. Barcelona may be polluted at times, but the people there are far more interesting and lively than the Swiss. Personally I prefer a place with more charisma.
MB, Barcelona, Spain

A year in London, has made me fall more in love with the city
Christina Spybey, London, U
I moved from Singapore to London last March. Since then, my quality of lifestyle has improved tremendously. In London, I was given the opportunity to do things that I would not even dream of trying it out. A year in London, has made me fall more in love with the city itself. London has its off days but I only look at the great opportunities that I could tap on to fulfil my dreams!!
Christina Spybey, London, UK

I personally think that Baden-Baden in the Southwest of Germany is the best place to live! The weather is fairly mild, we're on the French border, Switzerland is only an hour and a half away and it is a very clean, safe and beautiful city!
Mike, Germany US ex-pat

I was in Frankfurt last year and I have to say that it cannot compare to Atlanta on a Spring day.
Matt Harr, Atlanta, Georgia USA

Well, I live in the world's healthiest city, Calgary. Admittedly, it is not as interesting as London, or even Vancouver for that matter (I have lived in both), but the proximity to the Rockies and the Badlands make up for that. However, I think that is the single best factor about living in Calgary is that I can afford to do things unlike when I lived in Vancouver or the UK.
Shawn halter, Calgary, Canada

My husband and I lived for 5 years as expats in Geneva and with each passing year, we witnessed the city's deteriorating "quality of life" - more traffic, overcrowded, dirty (yes, even in Switzerland), increased crime rate, lack of art & cultural events, etc. We have now moved to San Francisco which truly deserves to take the number 1 spot and hold it for many years.
Paris, San Francisco

I'm sick of listening to people who moan about my City
Warren Scott, London
Coming from London and living here all my life, I don't understand why so many people moan about it, If people do have the choice and want to leave then let them. I'm sick of listening to people who moan about my City. Don't like it, THEN LEAVE. No one is forcing you to stay especially when so many people moan about the cost of living here.
Warren Scott, London

This sort of survey is very interesting. It encourages people to think about the environment and quality of living. Not of nightclubs and bars and crowds. I am happy that this survey continues to be published. It will open the minds of many citizens of the world.
Nidal, Montreal, Canada

I've lived in Winnipeg, London, Minneapolis and Vancouver. Vancouver was my least favourite. The way in which development has sprawled out around Vancouver is an absolute disaster and the cost of living is through the roof. It is ideal for the rich and the delusional hippie, for the rest of us it's a rainy, congested, overpriced swamp with a highly splintered sense of community. Sorry.
Colin Grover, Winnipeg, Canada

Insecurity, absence of law and order, bribery and corruption. No democracy. Long term in office by the President. Drop in standard of living and low life expectancy.
Babey Ngong Babey, Bamenda, Cameroon

Vancouver is worthy of this listing: we have beautiful scenery (mountains and coastline), and an amazing city skyline. The weather is great, the air clean and I yet we're within easy travelling distance of most major US cities. It's a pocket of paradise in a confusing world. Book early for the 2010 Winter Olympics!
Brian, Vancouver, Canada

Life here is fast, plentiful and risky, but amazingly enough this city is still awesome like no others
Samuel Nobre, São Paulo

Life in São Paulo, a metropolis whose urban area holds 10% of the Brazilian population, is always in a hurry. The soundtrack of the city is made of honks, engine sounds, helicopters flying and crowd noises. In the morning you can smell that nice perfumed carbon dioxide-full air and during sun sets, admire the beauty of a brown cloak of pollution. You can find everything you might possibly like here, but can also lose it to a mugger while waiting in the street light. Basically, life here is fast, plentiful and risky, but amazingly enough this city is still awesome like no others.
Samuel Nobre, São Paulo, Brazil

The air is better here than in London, but then I'm only sharing it with less than a million people, rather than 7+ million.
Lee, Frankfurt

Boring - Absolutely boring! The quality of life for those who choose to live in cities has also to do with social life, culture and excitement: I prefer Barcelona to Bern, and San Francisco to Geneva! Just a question of ... quality of life!
A de Villepin, Paris, France

The provincial areas of Austria offer a very high living quality
Nelly, Manchester

Vienna comes third in the ranking, but the provincial areas of Austria offer a very high living quality. Cleanliness is an absolute priority and nature is wonderful there. When I moved from Austria to Manchester some two years ago I was really shocked, for example, about the fact that people just drop their litter on the pavement. That would be unthinkable in other parts of Europe.
Nelly, Manchester, UK

Calgary one of the best cities in the world? Is it April 1st already?
Jared, Toronto Canada

Our big vacation getaways consist of going to Florida to enjoy the ocean and visit Disneyworld about every 3rd year (this summer is one - hooray!). We are truly fortunate to live in a great area, but we also realize that there are many people who don't have these opportunities (inside the US and out) and we do what we can to help.
Dan, Port Allegany, USA

I lived in Zurich about 5 years ago. I absolutely loved it
Julie, Marietta, GA USA

I lived in Zurich about 5 years ago. I absolutely loved it. Very clean. Very safe. The people are wonderful. The cost of living is a bit expensive but it is worth it. I'd go back again in a heartbeat, if my husband got another job there.
Julie, Marietta, GA USA

Even though Washington DC has been proclaimed "the most powerful city in the world," it also has a 64% illiteracy rate thanks to illegal immigration. The rest of us who can read want to boost our egos and get the red carpet treatment. We want the perfect job; someone following us around with job offers. Since this is unrealistic, I gave up on quality of life. Only meaning matters.
Jonathan, Washington, DC

I live in Bournemouth, and I have a fantastic standard of living. Laid back people and the beach, what more can you ask for!!
Paul, Bournemouth

It is crazy that London was ranked so highly
Brian, Chingford, London

It is crazy that London was ranked so highly, just go to areas like Walthamstow to see how poor the quality of life is!
Brian, Chingford, London

Overtaxed, overpriced, yet I wouldn't live anywhere else in the world. God Bless the USA!!
Lisa, Wisconsin, USA

Having lived in Amsterdam twice and for a total period of four years and given that it was often faster to drive to work than use the (so-called) Snel-tram, I am amazed to see it in the top 10.
Chris Powell, London, UK

Geneva is very boring. The population is divided into cliques, i.e., the Genevans, other Swiss, foreigners, and international civil servants. There is little or no contact between these categories of the population. The two main industries, Banks and the International Organisations (UN etc.) make it a very dull place. Only advantage, it is easy to get out of to almost anywhere in the world (the airport is only a few miles from the city centre).
Anthony, Geneva, Switzerland

I am utterly spoilt!
Colin Sumby, Luxembourg

Quality of life surveys are pointless if they have dimensions that are narrower than those of a representative cross-section of the interests and priorities of real people
Max, London

The survey may be helpful in determining a very narrow view of quality of life but it certainly fails to take into account many of the factors that make big cities attractive. London scores badly yet if what you want is vibrant multi-culturalism and access to an enormously diverse range of Arts, London must come near the top and Geneva pretty much at the bottom. Cities like London, Rome and Madrid may have some important disadvantages but for many these will be more than outweighed by their many advantages. Quality of life surveys are pointless if they have dimensions that are narrower than those of a representative cross-section of the interests and priorities of real people.
Max, London, UK

What a ridiculous survey! Did someone pay for this? I really hope that no one or no entity will base any important decisions on this waste of applied human resources.
Mick, Barcelona, Spain

As an ex-pat who visits Geneva and Zurich regularly I have to agree that yes, they are clean and safe. Would I really want to live in either city? No, give me London any day.
James, Lausanne, Switzerland

It is fascinating that, of the top ten cities, only one (Sydney) has a warm, sunny climate. Those surveyed must have sunny dispositions to compensate.
Jeff Eldredge, Los Angeles

The ranking depends on how each of the factors are weighted. If you put 50% of the score on air pollution, I am sure Geneva would do very well indeed and London would come 15th. How can such a survey really mean anything, considering that people have different criteria to rate their personal quality of life? All this survey has done is raise the profile of the agency that published it's findings.
TB, Spain

How anyone living in London can have any quality of life defeats me. I used to live there in the late 1980s and was glad to get away. There may be everything for anyone in London but the pace of life is just too fast and it is too crowded, too dirty and too expensive.
John, York

I moved from London to Zurich two years ago and I think there's more to life than clean air and efficient rubbish collection. Yes Zurich is clean and nice and safe but compared with London it's very dull.
Robert, Zurich, Switzerland

I have to agree with Robert in Zurich: Geneva might be very "nice" but it can be almost depressingly boring.
Julie, Geneva, Switzerland

Frankfurt does not have anything which should cause it to be rated as high as it is. Munich is far better but very dull.
Dan, Germany

It's interesting that the top two cities in the world are in Europe but are not in the EU.
Gemma, UK


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific