Dublin is ‘best city to live in’ across Ireland and UK

Mercer quality of living survey puts Dublin ahead of London, Edinburgh and Belfast

Grand Canal Dock, Dublin

Grand Canal Dock, Dublin


Despite a housing crisis, Dublin is as good a place to live in as it was this time last year, a new survey from Mercer indicates, which also reveals that Dublin is the top ranking city across the UK and Ireland.

According to Mercer’s 20th annual Quality of Living survey, Dublin is once again in 34th place – making it the highest ranked city across the UK and Ireland. London (41) is the highest ranked UK city ahead of Edinburgh (46), Birmingham (50), Glasgow (50), Aberdeen (58) and Belfast (68). Dublin also beat Paris (39), Lisbon (38), Madrid (49) and Rome (57).

However, in the race to win post-Brexit business, Dublin significantly underperformed against competing locations such as Frankfurt (7), Amsterdam (12) and Luxembourg (18).


The survey by the consulting company is used by multinational organisations to help guide their expat decisions, and it assesses local living conditions across 231 cities including political stability, the socio-cultural environment and housing.

“Some of the key factors placing Dublin in 34th place in the survey include a stable political environment, lower levels of air pollution and a strong socio-cultural environment. The results demonstrate that Dublin remains an attractive location for international businesses to send their employees,” said Noel O’Connor, consultant at Mercer Ireland, adding, “Companies sending expatriates abroad need to get the full picture of conditions on the ground in order to compensate their employees appropriately for any decrease in living standards. Ultimately, the success of international assignments hinge on the personal and professional wellbeing of the individual expatriate and the welfare of their families.”

Vienna tops the ranking for the ninth year running and is followed by Zurich (2), and Auckland and Munich in joint third place. Munich jumped to third position as the city has made a concerted effort to attract talent and businesses by investing in high-tech infrastructure and promoting its cultural facilities.


In North America, Canadian cities rank highest for quality of living with Vancouver (5) again taking the regional top spot. San Francisco (30) is the highest ranking US city, followed by Boston (35), Honolulu (36), Seattle (44), and New York (45). Increasing crime rates caused Los Angeles (64) to drop six places. Dropping two places, Monterrey (112) is the highest ranking city in Mexico, while its capital, Mexico City, drops one to rank 129th.

This year the survey also looks at city sanitation, analysing waste removal and sewage infrastructure, levels of infectious disease, air pollution, and water availability and quality.

Have your say: What makes Dublin a great place to live?

Hawai’s Honololu tops this ranking, followed by Helsinki and Ottawa in joint second, whereas Dhaka (230) and Port au Prince (231) fill the bottom places. Dublin ranks in 31st position alongside Belfast, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, and ahead of Glasgow (50), Birmingham (60) and London (67).

Mercer Quality of Living Survey 2018

1 Vienna

2 Zurich

3 Auckland

3 Munich

5 Vancouver

7 Frankfurt

10 Sydney

18 Luxembourg

34 Dublin

39 Paris

41 London

229 Sana’a

230 Bangui

231 Baghdad