The globe's best and worst cities have been named – with Canada and Australia again proving the most desirable countries to live in.
Taking the crown for the fifth consecutive year is the coastal city of Melbourne, ranked highly by the Economist's Intelligence Unit for stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.
In second position was Vienna, while Adelaide and the Canadian cities of Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary round out the top six.
However, the most significant findings of the study show a significant drop in standards for a number of European cities.
Paris tumbles down the rankings as a result of January's Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks. Domestic unrest in Athens has caused the Greek capital to slump and the wider regional conflict means Kiev is now deemed to be among the worst 10 cities on the list.
Zurich was the only Western European city to see its liveability ranking improve.
However, the authors of the report warn that the general living experience has declined in the past 12 months.
"The ranking [...] shows that over the last five years average liveability across the world has fallen thanks to an increased sense of global instability," says the report.
Yet it is the fifth year that Melbourne has won top place, with the Victorian capital winning perfect scores of 100 in the healthcare, education and infrastructure categories as well as in the sub-category of sport.
In pictures: Top 10 safest cities
In pictures: Top 10 safest cities
1/8 2. Singapore
One of just three city-states in the world, along with Monaco and Vatican City, Singapore boasts very low crime rates: in 2012 there were 80 days straight without a single robbery reported. This proud nation prints the entire national anthem on the back of its $1,000 notes, and is home to the first “Hug Me” Coca-Cola machine, which dispenses bottles of pop when hugged. Wow.
2/8 3. Osaka
The second Japanese city in the top ten safest list, Osaka enjoys a similar atmosphere of calm to its more famous older sister, Tokyo. It is home to Universal Studios Japan and an entire Manga shopping district, “Den Den Town”.
3/8 4. Stockholm
The safest European city is also one of the richest, among the top 10 regions in the continent by GDP per capita. It also hosts the annual Nobel Prize for literature, medicine, physics, chemistry and economics, but contrary to the city’s harmonious atmosphere, the Peace Prize is the only Nobel awarded elsewhere, in Norway’s Oslo.
4/8 5. Amsterdam
A famously liberal attitude towards drugs and the sex trade obviously hasn’t had a detrimental impact on Amsterdam’s safety: it’s in the top five safest cities in the world. Just watch you don’t fall into a canal after indulging in one too many “brownies”…
5/8 6. Sydney
Ironically where Britain once sent its criminals, people now leave in their droves to live in safe Sydney, famous for offering a healthy, outdoor lifestyle and home to a certain opera house. Perhaps all that sunshine has something to do with it?
Tourism New South Wales
6/8 7. Zurich
This city has a relatively small population, and has infamously low tax rates, which might go some way to explain its place in the top safest cities in the world. It’s also often named as the place offering the best quality of life. Lucky old Zurich.
7/8 9. Melbourne
The second Australian city in the top ten for safety, Melbourne is rated the highest in “liveability” in the whole world. In the same survey last year it scored perfect rating for healthcare, education and infrastructure.
8/8 10. New York
Perhaps one of the more surprising on the safety list is The Big Apple, which actually scores pretty badly in terms of “liveability”. Contrary to its violent reputation, at least in Brooklyn and the Bronx, violent crime has been dropping since 1990, and last year saw the lowest number of homicides since records began in 1963.
Other Australian cities also seemed unaffected by international events in the rankings, with Sydney, Perth and Brisbane maintaining their last year's positions.
Conflict, meanwhile, united the bottom ten of the 139 countries surveyed. Names such as Tripoli in Libya, Karachi in Pakistan and, at rock bottom, Damascus in Syria were all too familiar from international headlines.
Jon Copestake, editor of the survey, explained that conflict - whether bloody civil war or crime as a result of overstretched infrastructure - could have widespread "ripple" effects.
"The threat to personal safety [...] has knock-on implications for many other aspects of liveability," he said.Reuse content