02/19/2014 03:45 EST | Updated 02/19/2014 03:59 EST

Mercer Quality Of Living Survey Ranks Top Cities In The World To Live (PHOTOS)


Most Canadians will proudly say they live in one of the best countries in the world, and now there are some hard numbers to back that up. In an annual survey ranking the top cities in the world for quality of life, a Canadian city is in the top five — and Canada dominates for North America in general.

Mercer, an international consulting company, puts out the survey to help multinational corporations that send their employees abroad evaluate the gap between their home and host city's living standards so they can compensate their workers fairly, according to a press release.

City characteristics taken into account to come up with the results include everything from social and cultural freedom to easily accessible medical services, education and public transit, along with a few more wider issues.

“Political instability, high crime levels, and elevated air pollution are a few factors that can be detrimental to the daily lives of expatriate employees their families and local residents .. Employers need a clear picture of the quality of living in the cities where they operate,” said Slagin Parakatil, a senior researcher at Mercer, in the release.

Of the top five-ranked cities globally, three were in Europe. Check out the top five and those at the bottom of the list in the slideshow below.

Photo gallery Mercer's Quality Of Living Survey 2014 See Gallery

The firm also breaks down the top five cities by continent.

In North America, Canadian cities came out on top. Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal clinched four of the five top spots, followed by San Francisco.

Each continent-specific ranking includes the city's global standing in brackets, and all four of the Canadian cities made it into the top 25.

The five bottom cities in North America were Mexico City, Detroit (which is currently bankrupt), St. Louis, Houston and Miami.