Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

Athens, Greece: Quality of living vs. cost of living comparison 2007

Please be aware that updated rankings for quality of living and cost of living from Mercer are available for 2008.

Cost of Living Greece 2008” and “Athens, Greece: Quality of Living ranking 2008

Top 50 Cities for 2007

The Top 50 cities with the best quality of living, according to Mercer.

1. Zurich
2. Geneva
3. Vancouver (tie)
3. Vienna (tie)
5. Auckland (tie)
5. Dusseldorf (tie)
7. Frankfurt
8. Munich
9. Bern (tie)
9. Sydney (tie)
11. Copenhagen
12. Wellington
13. Amsterdam
14. Brussels
15. Toronto
16. Berlin
17. Melbourne
18. Luxembourg (tie)
18. Ottawa (tie)
20. Stockholm
21. Perth
22. Montreal
23. Nuremberg
24. Calgary (tie)
24. Hamburg (tie)
26. Oslo
27. Dublin
28. Honolulu
29. San Francisco
30. Adelaide
31. Helsinki
32. Brisbane
33. Paris
34. Singapore
35. Tokyo
36. Lyon (tie)
36. Boston (tie)
38. Yokohama
39. London
40. Kobe
41. Barcelona
42. Madrid (tie)
42. Osaka (tie)
44. Washington DC (tie)
44. Chicago (tie)
46. Portland
47. Lisbon
48. New York City
49. Milan (tie)
49. Seattle (tie)

The analysis is based on an evaluation of 39 quality of living criteria for each of 215* cities including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services. Mercer Human Resource Consulting performs this assessment on an annual basis to determine living conditions for expatriate employees.

While some dispute that this is not realistic and does not apply to the everyday person, it is important to point out that expats use the same public services, institutions and spaces as locals. Therefore, it is essentially a quality of living analysis for all residents.

In the end, it all comes down to personal preferences, circumstances and options. One man’s castle is another man’s ghetto.

To see the original version of this Top 50 list, click here.

Ranking of all cities surveyed

Mercer surveys 350 cities, however it excludes certain cities that rank consistently and includes others for the sake of diversity or to measure fluctuation in areas of crises or growth (i.e. Baghdad, Beijing).

To see all of the city rankings for 2007, click here.

Where’s Athens?

Although Athens, Greece was found to be the 29th most expensive city in the world, it did not rate in the Top 50 for quality of living and called third dirtiest city in Europe by TripAdvisor. It remains a “city we love to hate.”

The Greek capital was again the lowest ranked city in Europe at number 78. It moved up one spot from #79 in 2006, however it is important to remember it also jumped up 30 places on the cost of living survey. Bottom line, cost of living is outpacing quality of living by quite a large margin.

One could argue that it’s a vast improvement from its ranking of #196 in 2002 before the Olympics, but this is when prices were still relatively low. Greece receives millions in EU funding that could easily land it in the Top 50. website metrics

Related posts

Minimum salaries vs. cost and quality of living in the EU
Mercer’s Quality of Living 2008
Consumers pay double for basics in Greece, compared to other EU nations


  N wrote @ May 27th, 2008 at 05:22

I was born and raised in an island (lesvos) and i came to california a few years ago. This is what i believe:
First of all, comparing athens and giving greece a bad image is not fair. Athens is probably the worst place to live in greece, there are very very beautiful (and clean-er) cities in greece such as trikala, mitilini, thessaloniki and hundreds of other islands=paradice. If someone decides to live in gree he/she MUST have money because in greece nobody from the working class can make more money for the basic living. Life is so expensive and pay is so low it’s just impossible to have all the expenses and needs paid for and then money for yourself. I haven’t lived in all the countries in the world but i know that greece is one of the friendliest, social, outgoing and fun countries. “Higher-class” countries like the U.S are no fun and you have to live like a robot home-work-home, no meaning in life just chasing after the dollar all your life. People are so cold and boring in America + plus there is nothing to do. Best thing to do is go to greece for vacation only, and if your pockets and wallet are full then consider living there. In greece you may not have money to eat, but you enjoy every minute of life. The greek air, water, sun and sunsets are “all the money” as we say in greece…

  Kat wrote @ May 27th, 2008 at 09:33

Well, first of all, you live in Sacramento, which is middle-class-ville bordering on hick country, and not even listed on the survey so your comment is irrelevant. But to humor you, I’ll go along with it. I’ll say the same thing to you that you said about Athens: Sacramento is one of the worst places to live in California, where there are cleaner, more beautiful cities such as San Francisco, Tahoe, Los Angeles and San Diego. I don’t see how you can even compare Sacramento with Athens. Apples and oranges.

I know lots of people in America who aren’t robots, very dynamic, heaps friendlier than most Greeks here (the frowniest people in the world), very well off. And there’s tons more to do than just nightlife and tons more meaning to life in the USA than cafes, tavernas and menial jobs. Anyone who is “bored” or thinks there’s nothing to do just isn’t creative or smart enough to find it.

Believe it or not, there is water (oceans not seas), air (cleaner in the USA), sun and sunsets in America as well…and hey, the environment is a lot cleaner, less garbage strikes, no one cutting off your electricity and gas (which costs double) and you get paid on time with a decent salary. But I guess you find respect for human life boring also.

Anyone making statements such as, “In greece you may not have money to eat, but you enjoy every minute of life” should stop bitching about the USA and come back to paradise to starve and prove it. But since you already admitted in the same breath that Greece is only good for vacation and one must be rich to live here, I guess it’s another case of, “do as I say, not as I do.” And ‘hypocrite’ is a Greek word. 😉

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