The Austrian capital, Vienna, is known for its museums, palaces and ease of living. The city of 2 million people was recently identified as having the world's highest quality of life for the tenth year in a row. That opinion comes from Mercer, a consulting agency that does a yearly Quality of Living Ranking.

Measuring quality of life is not a simple job. In a statement, Mercer said the agency looks at many factors. For example, researchers measure how easily people can use public transport, such as buses and trains. They ask whether drivers can move well on the roads. They ask if houses and apartments are available at a good price, and whether children can go to international schools. They think about whether people in the city can enjoy music, theater, restaurants and sports.

In total, the agency considered 39 factors in 10 areas to name Vienna the winner. Vienna has also been ranked number one on other quality of life measurements, such as the Economist's Global Liveability Index.

Other top cities on Mercer's list included Zurich, Auckland, Munich and Vancouver.

The 10 cities at the bottom of Mercer’s list did not change from the previous year. Baghdad ranked last, followed by Bangui in the Central African Republic and Sanaa, Yemen's capital.

American cities did not do very well on quality of life rankings this year.

"All US cities covered in the analysis fell in the rankings this year, with Washington DC (53) the biggest faller," noted Mercer's statement.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

ranking (n.) /ˈræŋkɪŋ/ -  a list of people or things that are ordered according to their quality, ability, size, etc.

  • She is currently fifth in the world gymnastics rankings.

factor (n.) /ˈfaktə/ - something that helps produce or influence a result

  • Cost was the decisive/deciding/determining factor in their decision.

whether (conj.) /ˈwɛðə/ - Expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives.

  • It doesn't matter whether you pay by cash or check.

consider (v.) /kənˈsɪdə/ - Take (something) into account when making a judgement.

  • One service area is not enough when you consider the number of cars using this motorway.


Exercise 2 


Answer these questions about the article.

1. Is this the first time for Vienna to be chosen as the most livable city?

2. What factors does Mercer look at when making the list?

3. Which city ranked last on the list?

4. Which city experienced the biggest fall?


Exercise 3

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks with the correct word listed below.

ranking, factor, whether, consider

1. His achievements are very impressive when you ______ the fact that he never graduated from high school.

2. Poor planning was a major _____ in the company's failure.

3. He is number two in the class ______.

4. She was uncertain _____ to go or stay.


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

1. Are you surprised to see that Vienna is chosen to be the most livable city for the tenth time in a row?

2. Do you agree with the factors that Mercer looks at when ranking the cities? Which factors would you include / exclude?

3. Is your city good for living?

4. If you could live in any city in the world, which one would you choose? Why?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.