A new global survey has ranked Calgary as the fourth most “livable” city in the world, with Toronto and Vancouver falling not far behind.

The Economist’s 2018 “Global Livability Index” surveyed 140 cities around the world and ranked them based on 30 factors in five broad categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

With perfect scores in four categories, Calgary ranked fourth with an average score of 97.5, falling behind only Vienna, Austria (99.1), Melbourne, Australia (98.4) and Osaka, Japan (97.7).

Vancouver (97.3) and Toronto (97.2) also cracked the top 10, coming in sixth and seventh, respectively. Last year, all three Canadian cities were in the top 5 and have been consistently featured in the rankings for several years.

Robert Wood with the Economist’s Intelligence Unit told CTV News Channel one of the factors hurting Toronto and Vancouver is the availability of good-quality housing, but ultimately there are plenty of other things that make a city livable.

“(Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary) score so well in the other categories that that’s why they find themselves three in the top 10,” he said.

Canada and Australia are the only countries to have three cities in the top 10. Researchers note mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with low population densities often produce the best results. Canada and Australia have population densities between 3 and 4 people per square kilometre, compared to the global average of 58.

The Economist has been conducting the study for 10 years and until this year, Melbourne has taken the top spot each time, with Vienna close behind. Improved stability across Western Europe allowed Vienna to finally reach that top spot, Wood said.

The survey also notes that New York City, Paris and London -- all of whom fall outside the top 15 -- might be victims of their own success. All are prestigious cities with strong economic centres, but come with higher rates of crime, more congestion and a higher cost of living.

“Infrastructure particularly gets stretched with so many people in a dense city such as New York and other large cities,” Wood said.

On the other end of the spectrum, Damascus, Syria was ranked as the least livable city among those surveyed.

Most livable cities

The 10 least livable cities:

  1. Damascus, Syria
  2. Dhaka, Bangladesh
  3. Lagos, Nigeria
  4. Karachi, Pakistan
  5. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  6. Harare, Zimbabwe
  7. Tripoli, Libya
  8. Douala, Cameroon
  9. Algiers, Algeria
  10. Dakar Senegal