Three of the top 10 most livable cities in the world are Canadian.
Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary are third, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the list compiled annually by the Intelligence Unit of the business and political weekly magazine The Economist. That’s also where they stood last year.
Both Toronto and Vancouver won perfect 100-point scores for stability, healthcare and education. The 100-point score for infrastructure The Economist gave Melbourne and Vienna propelled them to first and second place on the list.
Melbourne has been the top city on the livability list since 2011, when it squeezed out Vancouver. Toronto and Calgary have traditionally been in the top five as well.
The Economist bases its ratings of 140 cities on 30 factors across five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Seven of the top 10 cities are in Canada and Australia, which the Intelligence Unit points out reflects them being mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with relatively low population density and good healthcare and education.
The other cities on the top 10 list, from fifth through ninth, are Adelaide, Sydney, Helsinki and Perth.
Half of the bottom 10 cities are in Africa: Douala, Cameroon; Tripoli, Libya; Algiers, Algeria; Harare, Zimbabwe and Lagos, Nigeria.
Syria’s capital of Damascus ranks dead last because of the civil war tearing apart the country. Damascus also registered the biggest decline in livability over the last five years, by more than 20 per cent.
The livability list also highlights the cities with the most improved scores over the last five years. Bogota, Colombia, improving the most: by 7.9 per cent since 2008, because of an end to violence created by the drug trade and guerrilla activity.
Top 10 most liveable cities 2013:
1. Melbourne, Australia, (97.5)
2. Vienna, Austria, (97.4)
3. Vancouver, Canada, (97.3)
4. Toronto, Canada, (97.2)
5. Calgary, Canada, (96.6)
6. Adelaide, Australia, (96.6)
7. Sydney, Australia, (96.1)
8. Helsinki, Finland, (96.0)
9. Perth, Australia, (95.9)
10. Auckland, New Zealand, (95.7)