Every year Mercer, one of the world’s largest HR consultancy firms, releases its Quality of Living Index, which looks at the cities that provide the best quality of life.

Now we take a look at what cities are ranked as providing the worst 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)

27. Tashkent, Uzbekistan — The capital in the central Asia country has changed economically, culturally, and architecturally since 1991, but poor air quality is seen as a big issue for the city.

A boy plays with a kite at Khast Imam square in Tashkent March 21, 2015. Reuters

26. Lome, Togo — The city is the largest in Togo and holds high unemployment rates. Its infrastructure is also deteriorating and the African nation faces problems with living conditions and rubbish collection.


25. Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan — Poverty is high in the economic centre of the country.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev at the Ala-Archa State Residence in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan February 28, 2017. Reuters

24. Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire — It is the economic capital of the Ivory Coast but the British embassy has issued warnings against anyone travelling there unless essential. It said “violent crime can occur at any time” and that the city, and the country, has a “high threat of terrorism.”

A boy sits at a hill overlooking the village of Attiekoube in Abidjan, Ivory Coast February 23, 2017. Reuters

23. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia —The capital city is going through a building boom but many of its citizens are suffering from extreme poverty.

A general view shows the cityscape of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, January 29, 2017. Reuters

22. Harare, Zimbabwe — The capital, as well as the rest of the country, suffers from an oppressive government led by Robert Mugabe. The city is also poverty stricken and millions of citizens are starving due to a majority of maize crops failing.

People queue to withdraw money from a bank in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, March 8, 2017. Reuters

21. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan — The city is largely controlled by the government, mainly through a large percentage of employment coming from state-owned enterprises. Unfortunately, the city suffers from chronic water shortages due to state mismanagement, which is crippling for citizens where temperatures soared as high as 47.2 degrees Celsius (116.96 F) in 2015.

Women wearing formal dress in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, February 14, 2007. Reuters

20. Lagos, Nigeria — The country’s largest city battles environmental threats, such as riptides, annually. Citizens are also under continual threats to their personal safety, including the kidnapping of students and murder.

People crowd a street at the central business district in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos ahead of Christmas December 23, 2016. Reuters

19. Abuja, Nigeria — The city, like Lagos, suffers from high crime rates from inter-communal violence. The British Foreign Office tells travellers: “You could get kidnapped or find yourself caught up in a terrorist or other violent incident.”

A housing project site at Life camp district in Abuja, Nigeria October 20, 2016. Reuters

18. Dhaka, Bangladesh — Dhaka is one of the world’s most populated cities and its garment exports bolsters its economy. But working conditions and human rights, as well as local poverty for a bulk of its citizens, are criticised and under scrutiny by world governments and charities.

Children enjoy their leisure time with a kite and balloon on the bank of the river Buriganga in Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 12, 2017. Reuters

17. Dushanbe, Tajikistan — Poverty and energy shortages are a huge issue for the city and country as a whole. The World Bank also warns that doing business there is difficult due to the inadequate infrastructure.

People walk along the street as a motorcade ferrying U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry drives past on November 3, 2015 in Dushanbe. Reuters

16. Antananarivo, Madagascar — The city, and the rest of the country, depends on agriculture for its economic growth. However, political instability hinders any chance of continuous development.

A man travels in a boat to fish in a pond in the outskirts of the capital Antananarivo, in this October 30, 2013 file photo. Reuters

15. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso — The city is under continued threat of terrorist attacks and, earlier in 2016, Al-Qaeda bombed a popular hotel, killing 29 people.

Motorcyclists drive as they pass a monument in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso March 4, 2017. Reuters

14. Tripoli, Libya — The city was carved up by two rival warlords in 2015. Even the main airport was destroyed in the summer of that year and all the main embassies were closed down. Migrants and refugees are also flooding into the country due to its proximity with Europe.

Migrants sit in a naval base after they were rescued at sea by Libyan coast guard, in Tripoli, Libya, March 3, 2017. Reuters

13. Niamey, Niger — Protests, governmental corruption, and local poverty place this city onto the list.


12. Bamako, Mali — The city is experiencing rapid population growth which is causing increased poverty problems.


11. Nouakchott, Mauritania —The city was originally a small village of little importance until 1958 until growing rapidly into one of the biggest cities in the Sahara. However, overcrowding, droughts, and poverty have helped fill the city with slums.


10. Conakry, Guinea Republic — The port city is riddled with personal safety issues. Violent crime, protests, and strikes wreak havoc in Conakry.

A man carries fish from boats in a fishing market on November 19, 2015 in Conakry, Guinea. Getty

9. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo — Ethnic nationalist conflict is rife in the city and NGOs have tried to step in to provide aid and food relief to the city and the rest of the country.

Civilians gather to witness a security operation near the residence of Ne Muanda Nsemi, a member of parliament and leader of Bundu dia Kongo (BDK), in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital Kinshasa, March 3, 2017. Picture taken March 3, 2017. Reuters

8. Brazzaville, Congo — Government corruption has triggered huge protests in the city which led to a number of people being killed by the police.


7. Damascus, Syria — Mercer says the city has “witnessed continual violence and terrorist attacks that weigh upon the daily life of locals and expatriates.”

Schoolchildren walk in the rebel held besieged Douma neighbourhood of Damascus, Syria March 8, 2017. Reuters

6. N’Djamena, Chad —The city in one of the world’s poorest countries has suffered at the hands of militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The group carries out frequent suicide bombings in the city.

Chad’s President Idriss Deby Itno sits in an armchair at the presidential palace prior to his meeting with French Prime Minister in N’Djamena, Chad, December 29, 2016. Reuters

5. Khartoum, Sudan —It is the second largest city in Sudan and is a key recruiting ground for ISIS.

Relatives wait for the prisoners to be released, after 259 prisoners from Darfur rebel movements were released according to the general amnesty decision of the President Omar al-Bashir, in Khartoum, Sudan March 9, 2017. Reuters

4. Port Au Prince, Haiti —The city is rife with violent crime and is dangerous for travellers. Rapes and robberies are common and there is a worrying growth in vigilante violence.

Revellers parade along a street at the Carnival of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 27, 2017. Reuters

3. Sana’a, Yemen — The largest city in Yemen has been devastated by airstrikes from Saudi Arabia as the country has become a battleground in the proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia.


2. Bangui, Central African Republic — The capital city is incredibly poor and many citizens rely on aid for survival. On top of that, violent sectarian clashes erupt regularly in the area.


1. Baghdad, Iraq — The capital city has suffered severe infrastructural damage from several wars and continual on the ground violence. It continues to face threats from ISIS.

A man looks at the site where a car packed with explosives blew up yesterday, in Hayy al-Shurta, a Shi’ite district in Baghdad, Iraq February 17, 2017. Reuters

Mercer made a list of Quality of Life from 230 countries and Business Insider took a look at the bottom 27 in the world.