The Global Liveability Ranking usually offers an enthusiastic peek into cities operating the right way—low crime, great infrastructure, perfect Pleasantvilles. This year, the usually cheerful livability ranking presents a rather gloomy picture of the world, and the recent surge in global instability has marred some of the results.
In any event, Melbourne tops the list for the fifth consecutive year, Vienna finished second, and three Canadian cities, Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary (tied with Adelaide, Australia), rounded out the top five most liveable cities of 2015.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Syria’s capital Damascus, unsurprisingly, finished dead last. Though the bottom of the list is marked by unrest, many cities in previously stable regions like Europe and North America have experienced deterioration in their liveability—take for example the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris or church shooting in South Carolina.
To build the ranking, the Economist Intelligence Unit considers 30 factors related to things like safety, health care, educational resources, infrastructure, and environment in 140 cities throughout the world. Such considerations tend to favor, notes the EIU, “mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density,” which explains the high rankings for cities like Vienna and Vancouver—populations of 1.7 million and 603,000, respectively—and low rankings for megacities like London and NYC.
Since 2010, according to the study, average livability across the world has fallen by 1 percent, with the most noticeable fall in stability and safety scores. Ongoing conflicts in ISIS-wrought Middle East, north Africa and Ukraine have been compounded with terrorist shootings and civil unrest in France, Tunisia, and even the United States. Austerity in Athens continues to denigrate the proud Greek capital, and Kiev witnessed the sharpest decline over the past year and currently ranks in the top 10 least livable cities.
Here’s the full breakdown of the EIU’s analysis:
Five most livable:
1. Melbourne, Australia
2. Vienna, Austria
3. Vancouver, British Columbia
5. Adelaide, Australia
5. Calgary, Alberta
Least five livable:
136. Tripoli, Libya
137. Lagos, Nigeria
138. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
139. Dhaka, Bangladesh
140. Damascus, Syria
What do you think of the results? Share your thoughts with a tweet or in the comments section below.
Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen San Diego but with more sunscreen and jorts.