vancouver most liveable city Photo: abdallahh/Flickr

Want to live in one of the world’s most liveable cities? For Canadians, there are plenty of choices. A new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research unit of well-known magazine The Economist, shows that three of the five most liveable cities in the world are located in Canada.

The EIU report looks at 140 cities, assigning them all a ranking out of 100 based on 30 factors divided across five areas: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Cities scoring above 80 fall into the top tier of liveability, while a score of less than 50 indicates a city where “most aspects of living are severely restricted.”

liveability scoreboard eiu Chart: EIU

Per the report, Vancouver scored 97.3, making it Canada’s most liveable city and the third most liveable city globally. Toronto came in fourth place worldwide with a score of 97.3, while Calgary received a 96.6 to tie for fifth place with Adelaide. All three Canadian cities fell behind first-place Melbourne (97.5) and second-place Vienna (97.4).

Explaining what makes the top-scoring cities so liveable, the EIU notes that “[t]hose that score the best tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density.” Those characteristics tend to allow a range of recreational activities to take place without leading to overburdened infrastructure or a higher crime rate.

Of course, those positive features don’t come without a cost, and it’s worth noting that the EIU did not rank cities on affordability, currently a key issue in both Vancouver and Toronto. In fact, Joseph Lake, the organization’s director of global forecasting, told Global News that the report was “less about the price of lifestyle and more about the lifestyle that is achievable in the cities surveyed.” He added, “[a] lot of the time the high-cost of living comes with the territory.”

most liveable cities eiu Chart: EIU

Interestingly, while the top five cities on the list were unchanged from last year, the rankings for many cities further down the list changed substantially — in the past year, 25 per cent of the 140 cities surveyed have experienced score changes, most of them negative. According to the EIU, those declines reflect “deteriorating stability.”

Notably, “violent acts of terrorism” have been reported in a slew of countries this past year, including Turkey, France and Belgium. What’s more, the EIU notes that in many countries terrorism “has been compounded by unrest and, in more extreme cases, civil war.” Many countries where conflicts are currently taking place are home to cities with the lowest scores from the EIU — Damascus received the worst score, and Tripoli, Lagos, Dhaka and Port Moresby round out the bottom five.

least liveable cities eiu Chart: EIU

Overall, the report places just 13 cities in the bottom tier of liveability compared with 65 in the top tier. However, the EIU does note that the global average liveability score has dropped 0.9 per cent in the last five years to reach 74.8 per cent; what’s more, a quarter of that fall has come within the last year. That fall in liveability has largely been driven by a fall in average global stability, and the organization emphasizes, “declining stability scores have been felt around the world.”

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