A recent study ranking cities based on their quality of living placed Uruguayan capital Montevideo on top (at no. 48) in the region, with Buenos Aires (no. 93) and Santiago (no. 94) trailing behind. Latin America, on the whole, performed poorly, according to the study.
Mercer’s “2016 Quality of Living Survey” compiled data for 230 cities across the world, ranking them according to factors such as political and social environment, housing, medical and health considerations and economic environment. According to the study, South America’s less than stellar results were due to low scores in safety, political unrest and drug-related violence.
Vienna, Austria, was crowned the best city in the world, followed by Zurich, Germany, and Auckland, New Zealand, mainly for scoring well in terms of pollution, education, recreation and rent.
Although the study doesn’t mention how Buenos Aires scored in each individual category, Human Rights Watch released a 2015 analysis that claimed “threats to freedom of expression, lack of comprehensive freedom of information legislation [and] police abuse,” as major contributors to Argentina’s sometimes unfavorable reputation. Ouch.
But it’s interesting to note that Singapore and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, came before Buenos Aires on the survey. So apparently things like getting sentenced to death for smuggling weed, and free speech against your government, aren’t, you know, important. Did we mention flogging and stoning are legal forms of judicial punishment under Sharia law?
Amid all this negativity, we also would like to mention that there are some cities we did in fact beat. Damascus, Syria (no. 224), we see you.
Here’s a good time to remind everyone of the arbitrary nature of such studies. Lists whose subjects range from anywhere between “Top 10 Beaches to Get Zika” and “20 Foods You Thought Were Healthy That Actually Give You Cancer” rule the Internet, but how objective are they really?
Mercer’s study’s stated purpose is to “assess quality of living conditions to help multinational companies and other employers fairly compensate employees when placing them on international assignments.” Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Talent Business, is quoted on their website as saying: “Multinational companies need accurate data and objective methods to determine the cost implications of deteriorating living standards and personal safety issues when compensating expatriates.” This basically means that employees receive extra “hardship allowances” to make up for the lower living conditions in their host versus home country, as well as a “mobility premium” just for having to deal with the inconveniences of uprooting to a new location. The shittier the move the better the pay?
Well — there you have it. For the full list of cities, click here. As for you, Montevideo, we all know the real reason you beat us. We get it, you smoke weed.