The Best and Worst Cities in the World for Work-Life Balance

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Balancing a career and personal life can be difficult, but certainly not impossible — especially depending on where you live.

To determine the best and worst places for work-life balance, MoneyNerd analyzed 25 cities across the globe and measured factors such as salary, cost of living, job opportunities and job satisfaction. Copenhagen was the No. 1 city for work-life balance in 2023, with Amsterdam at a close second. And despite the pervasiveness of constant hustle culture, New York came in at number three.

As far as the cities with the worst work-life balance, Beijing was No. 1, followed by Lisbon and Budapest. See the full list, here.

Related: Work-Life Balance Is Simple. To Succeed at Work, Get a Life.

Top 5 best cities for work-life balance

1. Copenhagen

Average salary: $44,474

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 306

Cost of living index: 65.5

Work-life balance rating: 8.6

Happiness rating: 7.6

Overall score: 6.2

2. Amsterdam

Average salary: $44,367

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 724

Cost of living index: 59.5

Work-life balance rating: 8.3

Happiness rating: 7.4

Overall score: 6.1

3. New York

Average salary: $71,401

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 7,646

Cost of living index: 100

Work-life balance rating: 5.2

Happiness rating: 7.0

Overall score: 6.1

4. Oslo

Average salary: $46,196

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 92

Cost of living index: 62.3

Work-life balance rating: 8.5

Happiness rating: 7.4

Overall score: 6.0

5. Zurich

Average salary: $82,191

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 338

Cost of living index: 94.8

Work-life balance rating: 7.7

Happiness rating: 7.5

Overall score: 6.0

Top 5 worst cities for work-life balance

1. Beijing

Average salary: $18,366

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 1,530

Cost of living index: 41.6

Work-life balance rating: N/A

Happiness rating: 5.6

Overall score: 2.1

2. Lisbon

Average salary: $13,887

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 194

Cost of living index: 43.7

Work-life balance rating: 6.7

Happiness rating: 6.0

Overall score: 2.3

3. Budapest

Average salary: $12,664

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 209

Cost of living index: 32.9

Work-life balance rating: 7.6

Happiness rating: 6.1

Overall score: 2.3

4. Dubai

Average salary: $50,853

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 415

Cost of living index: 57.2

Work-life balance rating: N/A

Happiness rating: 6.6

Overall score: 2.9

5. Hong Kong

Average salary: $34,271

Average number of jobs available across six industries: 1,100

Cost of living index: 70.6

Work-life balance rating: N/A

Happiness rating: 5.4

Overall score: 3.0

Still, work-life balance isn’t a one-size-fits-all measurement when it comes to different industries. Certain cities are better than others for specific careers, the study found. For business professionals, Amsterdam is the best city for work-life balance, followed by Copenhagen and Vienna. For sales professionals, Copenhagen comes in at No. 1, followed by Stockholm and Oslo. For marketing professionals, Amsterdam is the best city, followed by New York and Copenhagen. For lawyers, London, Oslo and Berlin are the best places to work, respectively. Tech professionals are best off in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Berlin. Finally, for accountants, Copenhagen, followed by Amsterdam and Zurich are the best places for work-life balance.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Achieving Work-Life Balance

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