Copenhagen is the world’s No. 1 city for work-life balance and pay, says new research—New York isn’t far behind


New York is famous for its “hustle and grind culture” — but it might be one of the best cities for work-life balance. 

That’s according to a new report from MoneyNerd, which ranked 25 of the biggest cities around the globe on factors including cost of living, average salary, number of job opportunities, and more. 

The personal finance site used data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Happiness Report, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and more to determine which cities have the happiest residents and offer the most access to high-paying job opportunities.

Copenhagen ranked as the No. 1 city in the world for having a good work-life balance and making a competitive salary. Denmark’s capital had an overall average salary of $44,474 coupled with a high work-life balance rating of 8.6 out of 10 points.

Amsterdam and New York trailed close behind in second and third place, respectively. 

Here are the top five cities in the world for work-life balance and pay, according to MoneyNerd:

1. Copenhagen

Average salary: $44,474
Work-life balance rating: 8.6 out of 10
Happiness rating: 7.6 out of 10

2. Amsterdam

Average salary: $44,367
Work-life balance rating: 8.3 out of 10
Happiness rating: 7.4 out of 10

3. New York

Average salary: $71,401
Work-life balance rating: 5.2 out of 10
Happiness rating: 7 out of 10

4. Oslo

Average salary: $46,196
Work-life balance rating: 8.5 out of 10
Happiness rating: 7.4 out of 10

5. Zurich 

Average salary: $82,191
Work-life balance rating: 7.7 out of 10
Happiness rating: 7.5 out of 10 

Oslo and Copenhagen have consistently ranked as some of the best cities for work-life balance in other reports, praised for being safe, affordable cities that offer attractive benefits to workers, including an abundance of remote, flexible jobs and generous parental leave policies.

Despite being one of the most expensive places to live in, New York had a higher work-life balance score than other global cities, like Hong Kong and Dubai, mainly because New Yorkers earn more.

Even though New York and Zurich have similarly high costs of living and happiness scores, New York ranked higher than the largest city in Switzerland because it has more job openings across several industries.

Meanwhile, Beijing, Lisbon, and Budapest are some of the worst cities for work-life balance, according to MoneyNerd. These three cities had lower average annual salaries than other places as well as fewer available jobs, per MoneyNerd’s research. 

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