Ranked: The Cities with the Best Work-Life Balance in the World
While some careers can be relatively stress-free, maintaining a healthy work-life balance can seem impossible for many.
The easy access to technology, blurred boundaries around work and personal time, and fear of job loss push many to work overtime, and fail to use vacation time or sick leave.
However, in some cities across the world, the situation is very different. In top-ranked locales, companies offer working professionals an opportunity to maintain a work-life balance through good healthcare, ample vacation time, and so on.
In this graphic, we use the Forbes Advisor 2023 ranking to highlight the top cities in the world that encourage work-life balance. The ranking compares data from 128 cities to form the Work-Life Balance Score, which is marked on a scale of 100. The higher the score, the better work–life balance workers in a city have. We’ve covered the top 25 in the graphic above.
Europe Tops the Chart
Twenty of the 25 cities with the best work-life balance fall in Europe. The diverse range of cultures and lifestyles in these cities offers its residents a balance between work and personal life.
The top city on this list, with a work-life balance score of 70.5/100, is Copenhagen, Denmark. The city’s high standard of living, low unemployment rate, 52-week-long parental leave, and focus on sustainability and green spaces all contribute to the city’s top score. It also helps that the Danish lifestyle focuses on taking time for self-care and relaxation.
Healthy lifestyles along with generous vacation and parental leave policies also placed the European cities of Helsinki, Stockholm, and Oslo in the top five in this list. In fact, the average employee work week in these cities falls below 30 hours. The proportion of remote jobs in Helsinki, Finland is over 50%.
Many companies in Europe prioritize employee well-being, which has led to the emergence of a wellness culture. This culture includes practices such as remote work and mental health support.
Balancing Work and Life in Oceania
Although Europe dominates the top 25 list, some cities in Oceania also boast of healthy work-life balance scores.
Ranked 5th on the list of cities with the best work-life balance, workers in Auckland, New Zealand, have a 26.3-hour work week on average and a year’s worth of parental leave.
Meanwhile, the cities of Brisbane (53.3), Melbourne (53.1), and Sydney (51.4) in Australia follow an average work week of 32.4 hours to 38 hours. The sunny weather in these cities also positively influences their scores.
For Some, Safety is Key
UAE’s capital city is the only Asian city to make it to this top 25 list, and this is despite its high property prices and relatively low number of vacation days available to workers. On the flip side, the city is safe, sunny, and boasts a high quality of life.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
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