Easy Living in Australia: The Most Livable Cities in the World

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Mick Tsikas / Reuters

Melbourne's Yarra River

You had better fear the mass exodus from Vancouver, B.C., now that the city has fallen from its perch atop a worldwide most livable city list. But where should everyone up and move to? Australia, for sure (and certainly not anywhere in the United States).

Melbourne takes over the top spot in the annual Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2011 Global Livability Survey, dropping the crown jewel of Canada all the way to third. And there is nary an American city on the top 10 list.

The rating “quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide,” working to offer direct comparisons to come up with the best-of list. The cities were judged on political and social stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure and were given scores out of 100.

Vancouver had sat atop a variety of global lists—including this one—for a decade, but in this latest release, some tough transportation news knocked Vancouver from the top spot. No, the riots following the Stanley Cup Finals Game 7 happened too late to factor into this year’s rankings, so we may see an even bigger drop next year.

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The closure of a key highway in Vancouver scooted the livability of Vancouver 0.7 percentage points downward, which was enough to allow Melbourne to slide into the top spot and Vienna, Austria, to grab second as only 1.8 percentage points separated the top three cities.

While Vancouver scored a perfect 100 in culture and environment, the tough infrastructure rating wasn’t enough to help the city retain its crown.

But Canadians need not worry, as their country was well represented behind Vancouver, with Toronto taking fourth and Calgary fifth. Australia, though, was the real winner. Along with Melbourne’s win, Sydney grabbed sixth, Perth eighth and Adelaide ninth. Even their neighbors in New Zealand made the list, with Auckland earning 10th. Joining Vienna from Europe was Helsinki, Finland, at seventh.

The top American city was Honolulu, at number 26. And we already knew it was great to live in Hawaii.

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Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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