In a piece that came from the opinion section of the Japan Times/New York Times, a reporter pointed out that New York and other major US cities ranked well below those in Canada and Europe. Here are some examples: Vienna 1st, then Zurich, Vancouver, Munich, Auckland, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, then Copenhagen. The highest US city was San Francisco which ranked in 34th place. New York was ranked 44th, while London was the top British city at 41st place.
The question came up about the poor ranking of US cities despite millions of people who want to move to the US each year. The US takes between 1.1 and 1.2 million immigrants each year. But the poor ranking by US cities is actually from a Mercer Quality of Living ranking system that focuses businesses and their management teams who move to cities around the globe. So for upper middle class people who live in London, Tokyo and then Sydney each year, we know from this ranking system what cities are the easiest to move to and live in for 3 to 5 years. This makes sense.
Canadian and European cities are cleaner, and usually safer than US cities.
However this world if far removed from the world of immigrants who move to a city, look for a job, any job for first generation settlers, and send their children to schools. They are looking for basic needs and opportunity of any kind.
The US offers lower taxes and higher top incomes than Europe so newcomers from Japan, China and South Korea would likely hit the ground in the US, start a business and send their kids to schools – the second generation immigrants in the US do well, very well as they are forced to find work. Unlike Europe which gives migrants healthy benefits, the US is a place where immigrants must find work or live in poverty.
The US also has a system that allows lower income immigrants to enjoy upward mobility as they fast track. The 2016 Presidential campaign featured, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, all three with one or both parents born outside of the United States.
Working and blue color immigrants find the US attractive but let`s face it, Canadian and European cities are much nicer places to live.