The 2007 Quality of Living Survey fresh off the press from Mercer Human Resource Consulting has Shanghai coming in at 100th spot in a ranking of 215 cities around the world.
Zurich and Geneva took the top two places in the study that ranked cities based on 39 quality of living criteria, including political, social, economic and environmental factors; personal safety and health; and education, transport and other public services. The study named the top 5 cities in Asia as Auckland (tied for 5th), Sydney (tied for 9th), Wellington (12th), Melbourne (17th) and Perth (21st) – all cities within Australasia. Top city in Asia sans Australasia was Singapore (34th), sandwiched neatly between Paris (33rd) and Tokyo (35th). Closer to home, Hong Kong came in at 70th position, followed by Shanghai which moved up three notches to 100th place, and Beijing which advanced from 121st to 116th place.
Well, now, if the 2006 report on the cost of living by the same company (2007 report not out yet, one can only wait with abated breath) is anything to go by, Shanghai is BAD value for money since it was supposedly the 20th most expensive city in the world to live in.
Without going so far as to admit to the utter pointlessness of its annual rankings, Mercer has pre-empted the controversy surrounding its findings with these two inconspicuous paragraphs found at the bottom of the page which seek to define the difference between the Quality of Living and the Quality of Life:
The Quality of Living index is based on several criteria used to judge whether an expatriate is entitled to a hardship allowance. A city with a high Quality of Living index is a safe and stable one, but it may be lacking the dynamic je ne sais quoi that makes people want to live in world-renowned cities such as Paris, Tokyo, London or New York. Sometimes you need a little spice to make a city exciting. But that “spice” may also give a city a lower ranking.
What makes one person’s quality of life better or worse cannot be quantified in an objective index. Therefore, Mercer’s Quality of Living report reflects only the tangible aspects of living in a city on expatriate assignments, and leaves the question of the quality of one’s life to those living it!
Okay, point taken. But now we’re just wondering: Where the hell is our hardship allowance? Damn.
Also on Shanghaiist:
Shanghai is less expensive for expats this year
Shanghai gets cheaper, still more expensive than Beijing
Quality of life on the rise in Shanghai
Cost of living in Shanghai rises
Image from Borchia.