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Milan #41 in World for Overall Quality of Expat Life

Mercer has just released its 2008 Quality of Living survey – it ranks cities around the world in terms of cost of living, personal safety, recreation opportunities, public transportation, and many other factors to come up with an overall ranking on “quality of living for expatriates.” Needless to say, I was curious where Italian cities had ended up.

Milan ranks 41st (up from 49th last year) on Overall Quality of Living, and that’s it. That’s the only appearance of any Italian city in the top 50 for either Quality of Living or Personal Safety. Yes, folks, that’s kind of dismal. But when I read that the Personal Safety ranking was based on things like “Internal Stability” and “Crime & Law Enforcement” I realized that if Italy ranked anywhere near the top on that index it could rightly be accused of fixing the results.

On the bright side, Milan’s got a score on the Overall Quality of Living index of 100.8, where New York is the base city at 100. (Sure, it may be nigh unto impossible to find a cheap hotel in either city, but who’s counting?)

And while I’m here, I might as well mention that the city which is listed as having the highest Overall Quality of Living for Expatriates is Zurich, with a score of 108. Three Swiss cities made it into the top 10, which makes me think this list is for rich bankers and not average expats who are just scraping by. Because really, who can afford to be an expat in Switzerland except rich bankers?

At any rate, I’m doubly happy not only that Milan – the city I’ll most likely end up living in – is in the top 50 and has moved up from last year, but also that it’s been ranked higher than the city where I currently live – Portland, Oregon. I’m a bit baffled by this, but I’ll take it.