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The top and bottom tiers of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability ranking of global cities are little changed from last year, with only Sydney moving out of the top 10 most liveable cities, giving way to Hamburg. Under the EIU methodology, middle sized wealthy cities with low population densities were still more likely to appear among the top rated global cities. The cost of living was the most common drawback for some otherwise well-performing cities. Lower performers struggled with escalating terrorism, social unrest, and other hostilities common now to cities such as Damascus, Lagos, Tripoli, and Kiev.

In the 2016 ranking, heightened terrorism globally in its various forms weighed down the scores for strong performers more than in years past. Terrorist attacks in European countries and the combined mass and police shootings in the United States, for example, lowered the livability scores of cities in these countries. Detroit and Paris were among the most negatively changed rankings of 2016.

The Liveability Index is composed of composite and individual factor scores for 140 cities worldwide. Relative comfort is assessed for 30 factors across five categories: stability, culture & environment, healthcare, infrastructure, and education. The overall score varies from 1 to 100, intolerable to ideal living conditions.

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