Santiago has the third highest quality of life in South America

Education, housing, the availability of consumer goods and public services are among the city’s strong points.


Chile’s capital is the city with the third highest quality of life in South America, according to a comprehensive study conducted by international consultancy group, Mercer.

Santiago achieved 90th place in the 2011 Quality of Living Survey, which compared 221 large cities from across the globe.

The top five cities on the list were Vienna (Austria), Zurich (Switzerland), Auckland (New Zealand), Munich (Germany) and Dusseldorf (Germany), while Uruguay’s Montevideo (77th) and Argentina’s Buenos Aires (81st) had the best rankings in South America.

Santiago scored fifth place in Latin America, edged out by Pointe-à-Pitre (63rd) in the French Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe, and San Juan Bautista (72nd) in Puerto Rico.

Other notable cities in the region included Brazil’s capital, Brasilia (101st), Mexico’s Monterrey (104th), Costa Rica’s San Jose (105th), Paraguay’s capital, Asuncion (112th), and Rio de Janeiro (114th) and Sao Paulo (116th) in Brazil.

Javiera Valenzuela, a human capital consultant with Mercer, told La Tercera that education, housing, consumer goods, and public services were Santiago’s strengths.

However the survey noted that the Chilean capital had several areas to work on. It said the city’s pollution levels impacted its inhabitants’ health, the exchange rate affected the economic ranking and natural disasters such as the February 2010 earthquake meant it had a lower environmental standing.

The Mercer survey judges cities according to 36 factors grouped into 10 different categories: political and social environment, economic situation, socio-cultural environment, health and sanitation, schools and education, public services and transportation, recreation, consumer goods, housing and the natural environment.

Santiago’s strong placing comes just weeks after the New York Times listed the city on its list of the world’s 10 “hippest” cities.

Instead of measuring traditional quality of life indicators, the New York Times ranking considered such factors as sound planning, good management and an upbeat vibe.