4/24/2006 Houston -- According to the yearly survey by the Mercer Consulting Group, Honolulu, the highest ranking city in the U.S., drops two positions to 27th out of more than 350 cities across the world with a score of 103.3. San Francisco remains at 28th position and scores 103.2. Boston, Washington, Chicago and Portland follow in positions 36, 41, 41 and 43 respectively (scores 101.9, 100.4, 100.4 and 100.3) while Houston remains the lowest ranking city in the U.S. at position 68 (score 95.4). Overall, U.S. cities continue to slip slightly or remain stable in the rankings, except Chicago which has moved up 11 places due to decreased crime rates.

“Economies in the developed world tend to be relatively stable overall. Fluctuations in the quality of living in these regions are usually driven by factors such as increased air pollution, crime rates and traffic congestion, or external events like terrorism, disease outbreaks or natural disasters,” said Mr. Parakatil.

The analysis is part of an annual World-wide Quality of Living Survey, covering more than 350 cities, to help governments and multinational companies place employees on international assignments. Each city is based on an evaluation of 39 criteria, including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport, and other public services. Cities are ranked against New York as the base city, which has an index score of 100.

Mercer’s study is based on detailed assessments and evaluations of 39 key quality of living determinants, grouped in the following categories:

  • Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.)

  • Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc.)

  • Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc.)

  • Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc.)

  • Schools and education (standard and availability of schools, etc.)

  • Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc.)

  • Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc.)

  • Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc.)

  • Housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc.)

  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

(Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting Group)