Which Cities Have The Best Work Life Balance?

Expert Market have taken a look at 71 business city hubs around the globe to see which cities have the best work life balance.

US Cities

The study looked at 4 cities from the United States; New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. There is a long standing rivalry between New York and Los Angeles, based mostly on exaggerated stereotypes of the people who reside in each city. Therefore, New Yorkers may be surprised to hear that their east-coast counterparts actually work longer hours than them, with a lot less vacation time!

Los Angeles has an average of 1928 working hours per year, 4.2% more than those in the Big Apple, who clock in at 1847 hours. Chicago is the city most likely to burn the candle at both ends, with an average of nearly 2030 working hours per year, 9% more than the city that supposedly never sleeps.

New York and Los Angeles

America is known globally for having limited paid vacation days, but there is a marked difference between the east and west coast. New Yorkers take an average of 26.7 days vacation per year, 14.01% than the global average. Whereas those from the City of Angels take a meagre 13.6 days to recuperate – 68.82% less than average!

City Av. Annual Working Hours % different from New York Av. Annual Vacation Days % different from New York
New York 1,847.20 0% 26.7 0%
Miami 1,853.80 0.36% 19.4 -38%
Los Angeles 1,928.20 4.20% 13.6 -96%
Chicago 2,029.90 9% 14.1 -89%

Economic Centers

New York City is a major player in the global economy so we wanted to look at how the city’s work life balance compared with other power-house cities around the world. As mentioned, America has a reputation of being workaholics with long hours and little vacation. This chart shows that this may be true in terms of working hours, with New York spending more time in the office than cities in Europe, Australia and South America.

However, New York actually shows higher average vacation leave than certain European cities, including London and Madrid. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all of America as Los Angeles has one of the lowest vacation times of all the cities we studied, at just 13.6 days per year.

City Av. Annual Working Hours % different from New York Av. Annual Vacation Days % different from New York
Paris 1603.8 -15.18% 29.3 8.87%
Moscow 1646.5 -12.19% 30.9 13.59%
Madrid 1730.5 -6.74% 26.4 -1.14%
London 1740.1 -6.15% 25 -6.80%
Rio Di Janeiro 1745.5 -5.83% 30 11.00%
Sydney 1828.5 -1.02% 23.5 -13.62%
New York 1847.2 0.00% 26.7 0%
Tokyo 2054.8 10.10% 17 -57.06%
Cairo 2081.8 11.27% 25.2 -5.59%
Dubai 2186.1 15.50% 30 11.00%

Top 10 Cities

These are the 10 cities in the world with the best work life balance. Unsurprisingly, all 10 cities are in Europe. This table shows the average working hours and average vacation days for each city, as well as how the city compares with New York.

City Av. Annual Working Hours % different from New York Av. Annual Vacation Days % different from New York
Paris 1,603.80 -15.18% 29.30 8.87%
Lyon 1,630.60 -13.28% 28.50 6.32%
Moscow 1,646.50 -12.19% 30.90 13.59%
Helsinki 1,659.20 -11.33% 28.80 7.29%
Vienna 1,678.20 -10.07% 27 2.20%
Milan 1,691.20 -9.22% 25.50 -4.71%
Copenhagen 1,697.50 -8.82% 25.00 -6.80%
Luxembourg 1,702.90 -8.47% 31.90 16.30%
Vilnius 1,716.20 -7.63% 30.40 12.17%
Brussels 1,717.10 -7.58% 18.00 -48.33%

Bottom 10 Cities

The 10 lowest cities on our list work an average of 2226 hours per year. Interestingly, the average number of vacation days in these cities ranges from just 8.8 to 30. These cities span the globe across Asia, India, Africa, and Central and South America.

City Av. Annual Working Hours % different from New York Av. Annual Vacation Days % different from New York
Bogotá 2,096.30 11.88% 15.00 -78.00%
Jakarta 2,101.80 12.11% 12.00 -122.50%
Taipei 2,140.60 13.71% 12.90 -106.98%
Nairobi 2,184.10 15.43% 22.30 -19.73%
Dubai 2,186.10 15.50% 30.00 11.00%
Bangkok 2,191.30 15.70% 8.80 -203.41%
New Delhi 2,214.10 16.57% 26.00 -2.69%
Mexico City 2,260.90 18.30% 17.30 -54.34%
Mumbai (Bombay) 2,276.60 18.86% 21.40 -24.77%
Hong Kong 2606 29.12% 17.20 -55.23%
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