The United States is often touted as a beacon of economic freedom, but cities in Canada, Australia and New Zealand topped the rankings as the world's "most liveable," according to new rankings by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

For the fifth straight year, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, bested 139 other cities worldwide in the ratings of "relative comfort," based on five broad categories: infrastructure, education, safety, culture and environment and health care.

Vancouver's top spot was enhanced by its successful hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the report noted. Those high-profile events allowed Vancouver to boost its scores in the infrastructure and culture and environment categories. Only petty crime presents any difficulties for the city, the survey said.

Melbourne, Australia, came in second, followed by Vienna, Austria, in third place. A duo of Canadian cities, Toronto and Calgary, took fourth and fifth, with Helsinki, Finland, at No. 6. Rounding out the top ten were three cities in Australia -- Sydney, Perth and Adelaide -- and Auckland, New Zealand, weighing in at No. 10.

"Mid-sized cities in developed countries with relatively low population densities tend to score well by having all the cultural and infrastructural benefits on offer with fewer problems related to crime or congestion," said Jon Copestake, editor of the report, in a statement.

Pittsburgh, the highest ranking U.S. city, came in at No. 29, a notch ahead of Honolulu, while Los Angeles took No. 44 and New York City was at No. 56. London moved up one spot from last year to No. 53, while Paris came in at No. 16.

Of the "Bottom Ten" cities, Harare, Zimbabwe, was ranked the worst, due largely to the policies of the country's dictator, Robert Mugabe. Despite hopes for elections in 2011, the city's low stability and health care scores highlight a bleak situation there, the report said.

The World's 10 Most Liveable Cities

(as ranked by The Economist Intelligence Unit)
  1. Vancouver, Canada
  2. Melbourne, Australia
  3. Vienna, Austria
  4. Toronto, Canada
  5. Calgary, Canada
  6. Helsinki, Finland
  7. Sydney, Australia
  8. Perth, Australia
  9. Adelaide, Australia
  10. Auckland, New Zealand

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davidlw15

I lived in Melbourne from 1960 to 1963 and have visited relatives there every several years since then. A lovely, quite safe city with an excellent public transportation system. However, there are only a few "posh" or nice sections of Melbourne and its suburbs. Most of its outskirts are run-down and many areas are loaded with griffiti. Not a bad city but I have always felt it is overrated and quite overpriced!

February 23 2011 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
brennemanbelkin

Interestingly, they all have tight immigration policies.

February 23 2011 at 7:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Buckingham's

I don't think Auckland should be on the list at all,after the big earthquake that happened the other day in central New Zealand. Crikey, it would be like living in San francisco.

February 23 2011 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HiBarbRayAndMeg

One huge reason for all ten cities making this list. Healthcare..

February 23 2011 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ange Purs

You have to wonder if those who make these ratings have ever actually visited the places they recommend. Vancouver really suffers from drizzly weather. Calgary is a commuter's nitemare that is suffering from growing pains. (Try going straight across town on the Trans Canada.) Toronto is a big industrial city that for one thing is about as ordinary as big cities come. Remember that NYC was awarded the best place to live in the world several months after 9/11.

February 23 2011 at 12:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Ange Purs's comment
Pierre

I guess you are from Canada. I have been to Vancouver many times. The people there told me I brought sunshine with me everytime. I knew someone in Toronto working for Air Canada who was transferred to Vancouver due to reorganization. He quitted his job and moved back to Toronto because of the weather. If you think Vancouver is bad, try LONDON for a week, ANY WEEK. I happen to like Vancouver. Singapore comes next except for the heat. BTW, I live in New York City, the most exciting city in the world.

February 23 2011 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BUFFALO

I have been there and you can keep it.
I really like a lot of Canada but Vancouver is not my cup of tea.

February 22 2011 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nemoie

WHAT A STUPID THING TO PUT A STUDENT IN JAIL FOR THE SPRINGFEST INCIDENT!!

February 22 2011 at 11:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JERRY V

Who Cares!!!!!Another BS list that means absolutly nothing to most of the people in the world!!

February 22 2011 at 11:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
border72

i guess a lot of the most livable cities in the world are in australia. just try to get a work visa there nada. if you are over 40, you cant get citizenship in new zealand.

February 22 2011 at 10:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
oilgasm

Pittsburgh has some really attractive women. Any of you young dudes (20s & 30s), check out the South Side and Shadyside neighborhoods on a weekend night.

February 22 2011 at 10:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply