Austria\u2019s capital Vienna once again defended its position as the city offering the best quality of life in the world, while Iraq\u2019s capital Baghdad remains the worst in an annual survey from consulting firm Mercer.\r\nMercer\u2019s survey of 231 cities helps companies and organizations determine compensation and hardship allowances for international staff. Its criteria include political stability, health care, education, crime, recreation and transport.\r\n\u00a0\r\nEurope has eight of the world\u2019s top 10 most pleasant cities: Germany and Switzerland each have three cities in the top 10, while New Zealand, Canada and Australia each have one.\r\nWith a population of 1.8 million, Vienna topped the survey for the ninth year in a row, boasting a vibrant cultural scene, comprehensive healthcare and moderate housing costs.\r\n\u00a0\r\nVienna is followed by Switzerland\u2019s Zurich and then New Zealand\u2019s Auckland and Germany\u2019s Munich in joint third.\r\nVancouver, ranked fifth, offers the best quality of living in North America. Singapore at 25 and Montevideo at 77 topped the Asian and Latin American places. The best African entry on the list was South Africa\u2019s Durban in 89th place.\r\nA year before Britain is expected to leave the European Union, its highest ranked city, London, fell one rank to 41 in an annual comparison.\r\n\u201cCities in the UK continue to rank highly for quality of living, and remain attractive destinations for multinationals and their employees,\u201d said Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer\u2019s Global Mobility Practice Leader for Britain and Ireland.\r\nOver the past 20 years, living standards increased the most in some eastern European cities such as Sarajevo, now at 159, and Bratislava, at 80, the report said.\r\n\u201cAs a result of increased living standards, a competitive labor market and talent availability, many of these cities have started attracting multinational businesses setting up new operations,\u201d said Martine Ferland, President Europe and Pacific.\r\n\u00a0\r\nBaghdad has been at the bottom of the list for a decade now. Waves of sectarian violence have swept through the city since the American-led invasion in 2003.\r\nYemen\u2019s capital Sanaa, devastated by conflict, ranked two places above Baghdad, and Syria\u2019s Damascus, seven years into a civil war, ranked six places above Iraq\u2019s capital.