3 Worst Cities on Earth

Iraq, Chad, and Côte d’Ivoire round out bottom of Mercer's quality of life list.

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Mercer, a global consulting firm, released the results of their annual quality of life survey on Tuesday. The study evaluates 221 cities, ranked against New York City as the baseline, in an effort to provide companies with information about where to open offices and how much to pay employees on international assignments.

[View a slideshow of three worst cities on Earth.]

And while the Mercer list can help a CEO decide where to send favored employees on the cushiest assignments, it also shows places that might qualify for hazard pay.

Unsurprisingly, Baghdad, Iraq, is the least safe city in the world after nearly nine years of war and over 100,000 civilian deaths in the country since 2003. Once the shining capital of the Islamic world, Baghdad has been in a state of upheaval and civil strife, and travel to the city is not advised, the survey says.

Coming in at a close second, N’Djamena, Chad, is another place to avoid. Like Iraq, authorities advise people to never go to Chad at all, but visitors are allowed under certain circumstances in N’Djamena, the country’s capital. The city played host to a battle that displaced as many as 30,000 people just three years ago, and it has been plagued by civil conflicts for nearly half a century.

Not be outdone by its African neighbor to the west, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, is the third least safe city in the world. Unlike Baghdad and N’Djamena, Abidjan does play host to tourists—albeit of the most enterprising kind. The city boasts nightlife and beaches, but the streets are generally unsafe after dark and the water on the city’s southern coast is known to be treacherous for swimmers.