With Athens drawing growing interest, especially among the young, for its buzz of coffee shops, restaurants, funky neighborhoods and fun places amid the grime and growing violence, the city was only 89th in Mercer Quality of Living rankings.
Athens was just ahead of Riga, with the Latvian city 90th, and just behind Durban, the South African city at 88th.
For the 10th year in a row, Vienna was ranked number one, followed by Zurich, Vancouver, Munich, Auckland, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, Geneva and and Basel, giving Switzerland two cities and Germany three in the top 10.
The key criteria were recreation, housing, economic environment, consumer goods availability, public services and transport, political and social environment, natural environment, socio-cultural attractions, school and education and medical services.
The worst cities on earth, the last five in the rankings, were Khartoum, Sudan; Port au Prince, Haiti; Sana’a Yemen; Bangui, Central African Republic and war-torn Baghdad dead last with remaining violence. The safest city in the world is Luxembourg City in Luxembourg, a noted tax-evasion haven for corporations. The city was 18th overall.
Athens was even behind Detroit, featured in reports has having whole neighborhoods decimated by blight, neglect, abandoned houses, murder and despair.
Mercer wrote that, “Despite still featuring at the bottom of the quality of living list, Baghdad has witnessed significant improvements related to both safety and health services. Caracas, however, saw living standards drop following significant political and economic instability,” with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro a favorite of Greek Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader despite that country undergoing food shortages, blackouts and police shooting down demonstrators.
This year, Mercer added safety to its criteria and found that the safest were in Western Europe, led, Luxembourg and followed by Helsinki and the Swiss cities of Basel, Bern and Zurich in joint second.
War-torn Damascus in Iraq was the most dangerous at 231st, just ahead of Bangui in the Central African Republic.
Mercer lists itself as a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement, and investments.