Expat favourites Australia and Canada top the list of the world’s most liveable countries, according to a new survey.
Melbourne ranks the best place to live in the world, closely followed by Adelaide and Perth.
While Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary in Canada also scoop top spots.
Making up the rest of the top 10 world cities are Vienna, Austria, which came second, Auckland, New Zealand (8), Helsinki, Finland (9) and Hamburg, Germany (10).
Although the survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit celebrates the best places to live by scoring 140 cities worldwide, life is dour in the bottom 10.
Damascus, in war-ravaged Syria props up the table, with Tripoli in Libya next.
Worst places to live
African and Asian cities dominate the worst places to live – with Douala, Cameroon; Harare, Zimbabwe; Karachi, Pakistan; Algiers; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Dhaka, Bangladesh and Lago, Nigerian, all soring poorly.
A slender margin of 0.1% separates Melbourne and Vienna as the top city, while Vancouver (0.2%) and Toronto (0.3%) leave virtually nothing to choose between the top four.
Scores were ranked on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
Violent terrorist outrages have contributed to poor scores in many cities.
“This has been a year undoubtedly marked by terrorism. While not a new phenomenon, its frequency and spread have increased noticeably and become even more prominent in the past year,” says the EIU report.
Civil unrest grips world
“Terrorism has also been compounded by unrest and, in more extreme cases, civil war in some countries. Libya, Syria, Iraq and Ukraine remain the subject of high-profile armed conflicts, while a number of other countries, such as Nigeria, continue to battle insurgent groups.
“Meanwhile even relatively stable countries such as the US have seen mounting civil unrest linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has scrutinised the large number of deaths of black people while in police custody.”
Only six of the 140 cities improved their rankings in the past year, including Tehran, Iran; Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia and Bangkok, Thailand.
And what makes a top liveable city?
“Those that score best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. These can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure,” said the report.