The Economist’s 10 Most Liveable Cities for 2019

For the second year running Melbourne has been pipped by 0.7 of a percentage point as the best city in the world to live by Austrian capital Vienna.

The index by the Economist Intelligence Unit analysed the most liveable cities for 2019 with mid-sized cities in wealthier countries coming out on top.

Vienna has ranked as the world's most liveable city for the second year running, topping the table with almost perfect scores for infrastructure, stability, education, healthcare and culture and environment.

Melbourne, having clinched the title for the previous seven editions, was undone by Austrian capital's low crime rate, which nudged Vienna into top spot, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

With a score of 98.4 in 2019, Melbourne has once again fallen just short of the top spot, but still achieved scores of 100 in healthcare, education and infrastructure. Thanks to its thriving arts scene, Melbourne is often dubbed Australia's cultural capital.

The world's most liveable cities 2019

1Vienna, Austria6Vancouver, Canada
2Melbourne, Australia7Toronto, Canada
3Sydney, Australia8Tokyo, Japan
4Osaka, Japan9Copenhagen, Denmark
5Calgary, Canada10Adelaide, Australia

Vienna and Melbourne scored maximum points in the healthcare, education and infrastructure categories.

Melbourne extended its lead in the culture and environment component, but that was outweighed by Vienna's improved stability ranking.

Sydney — Australia's second-highest Australian city, ranking third — like Melbourne, achieved a perfect 100 for healthcare, education and infrastructure, it scored 95 for stability and 94.4 for culture and environment.

“This is attributable to an improvement in Sydney’s culture and environment score, reflecting an increased focus on combating and mitigating the impacts of climate change, as outlined by the city’s 'Sustainable Sydney 2030' strategy,” Economist analysts said.

Sydney, Australia's most populous city, jumped from fifth the previous year to third and for a sixth straight year Adelaide made the top five.

Osaka and Calgary made up the top five on the annual index of 140 cities around the world.

Other Australian and New Zealand cities in the top 20 included Auckland in 12th, Perth in 14th and Brisbane in 18th.

Of other major cities, London and New York ranked 48th and 58th as “they wrestle within the stability class, owing to perceptions of the danger of crime and terrorism”.

The world's least liveable cities 2019

1Damascus, Syria6Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
2Lagos, Nigeria7Harare, Zimbabwe
3Dhaka, Bangladesh8Douala, Cameroon
4Tripoli, Libya9Algiers, Algeria
5Karachi, Pakista10Caracas, Venezuela

Eight of the top 20 cities were in Northern Europe, with Copenhagen following Vienna into the top 10, and Zurich, Frankfurt and Geneva ranking 11th, 12th and 14th.

Helsinki, Amsterdam and Hamburg also made the top 20, while Berlin and Luxembourg came in at 21 and 23 respectively.

Singapore came in at number 40, and Dubai at 70. Hong Kong was ranked 38 — the listings were compiled before the recent political upheaval. Cairo and New Delhi were downgraded due to environmental issues such as poor air quality and inadequate water provision.

Damascus, in Syria, was judged the world's least liveable city, followed by Lagos, Nigeria, and Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Venezuelan capital Caracas was rated the tenth least liveable city.

Australia's most liveable city experiencing growing pains

Melbourne's relatively low crime rate was one of the main reasons it outranked other high-performing cities, however, the city is not without its problems.

Melbourne has been struggling to deal with a rising and increasingly visible homelessness crisis, with more people sleeping rough in the CBD than ever before.

The issue of housing affordability is also causing stress as property prices out of touch for many. The price of renting is also high, with almost all suburbs considered unaffordable.

Melbourne's public transport has also felt the weight of the cities rapidly growing population, taking on a massive 1.2 million people over the last 15 years.

Around 5 million people now occupy Greater Melbourne and that number is set to rise to 8 million by 2050.

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