Three Canadian cities ranked among the top 10 in this year's list of the world's most livable cities, while Melbourne held on to top spot for a seventh year in a row.
Analysts at The Economist's Intelligence Unit released the 2017 edition of their Global Liveability Report, which ranks 140 cities based on their quality of life across five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
Over the last seven years, the list of the top five cities has changed little, aside from a few percentage points narrowing or broadening the gap between the top performers.
For example, this year, only a 0.1 percentage point separates Melbourne from its nearest rival, Vienna. After Vienna, Vancouver and Toronto are ranked third and fourth on the list, followed by Calgary and Adelaide, which share the fifth spot.
This year's list saw 44 cities get bumped or promoted on the index, be it for falling crime rates, increased terror threats, instability, or increased tourist activity.
Analysts point to an ongoing trend over the last few years in which several U.S. cities have registered declines in their scores due to growing civil unrest related to the number of police-related deaths of black Americans, and the divisive policies of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Sydney, too, has fallen from seventh to 11th place this year, falling out of the top 10 list mostly due to growing concerns of terror threats.
Repeated terror attacks in France and the U.K., the ongoing migration crisis, and Brexit have likewise lowered stability scores across Europe.
The two European cities to buck this trend are Reykjavik and Amsterdam, which registered improvements thanks to their growing popularity among tourists and falling crime rates.
Overall, analysts say that a closer look at the top-scoring cities reveals a few important commonalities: top performers tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. Lower population density is linked to lower levels of crime and better infrastructure.
At the other end of the spectrum, Damascus in Syria, Lagos in Nigeria and Tripoli in Libya fall at the bottom of the list.
Here are the top 10 most livable cities in 2017:
- Melbourne, Australia
- Vienna, Austria
- Vancouver, Canada
- Toronto, Canada
- Tie: Adelaide, Australia and Calgary, Canada
- Perth, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Helsinki, Finland
- Hamburg, Germany