The Economist's annual survey of the world's most liveable cities has a new number one, with Melbourne demoted after seven years in the top spot.

The Austrian capital has long rated highly on the global liveability index compiled by The Economist‘s Intelligence Unit (EIU) but the threat of militant attacks has recently been downgraded, pushing it to the top ranking. It achieved a rating of 99.1%.

“While in the past couple of years cities in Europe were affected by the spreading perceived threat of terrorism in the region, which caused heightened security measures, the past year has seen a return to normalcy,” the EIU said in a statement released on 14 August.

Osaka (Japan), Calgary (Canada) and Sydney (Australia) were the other cities in the top five. Australia (three cities in the top ten), Canada (three) and Japan (two) dominated the upper reaches of the list.

What does the list of most liveable cities take into account?

The list has been compiled in its present form since 2004 and considers factors such as crime rates, culture and environment. Both Vienna and Melbourne scored the highest possible total for infrastructure, healthcare and education but Vienna had a higher ranking for stability.

The EIU says the cities that tend to perform well on the list are mid-sized cities in wealthy nations. Larger cities are often marked down to clogged infrastructure. London, for example, came in at 48th place.

Vienna has a population of around 1.8 million and was given high scores for its wealth of green public spaces and efficient public transport system.

Vienna received plaudits for low crime rate, stability

“One of the sub-categories that Vienna does really well in is the prevalence of petty crime … It’s proven to be one of the safest cities in Europe,” survey editor Roxana Slavchena said.

Slavchena also cited “a relative return to stability across much of Europe” for the improved rankings of many Western European cities.

Vienna also polled well in Monocle‘s list of most liveable cities. In that list, Munich (Germany) came in first place, followed by Tokyo (Japan), Zurich (Switzerland), Vienna and Copenhagen (Denmark).

Meanwhile, Damascus (Syria) came in at last place on the list with Dhaka (Bangladesh) and (Lagos) Nigeria rounding out the bottom three. Some particularly dangerous cities such as Kabul and Baghdad are not listed.

The top ten most liveable cities in the world 2018:

  1. Vienna, Austria
  2. Melbourne, Australia
  3. Osaka, Japan
  4. Calgary, Canada
  5. Sydney, Australia
  6. Vancouver, Canada
  7. (tie) Toronto, Canada
  8. (tie) Tokyo, Japan
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. Adelaide, Australia