• Beijing is now mainland China's most livable city, according to an annual survey by Economist Intelligence Unit.

Beijing is now mainland China's most livable city, according to an annual survey by Economist Intelligence Unit. (Photo : Xinhua)

Chinese cities have generally become more livable in the last year, while other cities around the world have declined due to terror and unrest, according to the livability survey by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

According to the report, Chinese cities have improved over the last 12 months "largely because of a lower threat from civil unrest." This resulted in the scores of seven out of eight mainland cities improving despite the average global stability score having fallen by 2.2 percent over the past five years.

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"Improving Chinese scores is a bright spot in an otherwise worrying picture painted by the global threat of instability," said Jon Copestake, editor of the survey. "Last year, events in Ukraine and the Middle East formed a sobering backdrop to global livability, but in the past 12 months this has been compounded by protests in the U.S., sanctions in Russia and shootings in France and Tunisia."

The ranking was determined using five broad categories--stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure--in order to measure the "livability" of 140 cities around the world.

Under the five categories were 30 qualitative and quantitative factors measured by data gathered mostly from within the EIU, with some coming from other organizations like the World Bank and Transparency International.

Beijing was rated the most livable city in the mainland, attributed to its excellent education and cultural resources. The past year has seen the city move up five places to 69th.

Other mainland cities on the list include Tianjin (70th), Suzhou (71st), Shanghai (78th), Shenzhen (81st), Dalian (85th), Guangzhou (90th) and Qingdao (98th).

Also notable is Hong Kong ranked 46th, which took a huge drop from the 31st spot last year, attributed to rising civil unrest.

The top ranked city was Melbourne, Australia, followed by Vienna, Austria, and Vancouver, Canada.

Some have expressed concern that Beijing being ranked the most livable city in the mainland contradicts the general perception of the Chinese people.

In response, Tom Rafferty, the EIU's economist for Asia, said, "environment, particularly air pollution, might be the most grave concern in China. But globally this is a much lesser issue and it only accounted for a tiny portion of our broad assessment."

Since the survey was designed for multinationals, who rely on it to help calculate hardship allowances as part of expatriate relocation packages, the report only rated eight mainland cities, mostly coastal ones, where expatriates concentrate. Most Chinese people tend to favor smaller inland cities when concerned with livability.