23 major cities with the worst quality of life in the world

Will Martin
  • Every year consultancy firm releases a ranking of the cities with the highest quality of life in the world.

  • The cities are broadly speaking, large conurbations in the Western world, with a handful in east Asia and Australia.

  • But where are the cities with the worst quality of life? Business Insider took a look.

  • The cities are generally in Africa and the Middle East, where war, poverty, and weak infrastructure are common.


Mercer has released its Quality of Living Index, which looks at the cities that provide the best quality of life.

The ranking is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and is carried out annually to help multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments, according to Mercer.

Looking at 450 cities across the world, Mercer takes into account the following metrics to judge which cities made the list for the best quality of life — which therefore shows what it feels are the best and worst:

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

  • Economic environment (currency-exchange regulations, banking services)

  • Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)

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

  • Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)

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

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

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

  • Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services)

  • Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

The cities with the best quality of life are, broadly speaking, large conurbations in the Western world, with a handful in east Asia and Australia. But where are the major cities with the worst quality in world?

Business Insider decided to take a look at the bottom of Mercer's ranking, which features a large number of cities in Africa and the Middle East, where war, disease and poor infrastructure have lowered the quality of life significantly.

Take a look below:

See Also:

SEE ALSO: The 21 cities with the best quality of life in the world