Skyline of Melbourne. The city topped an annual survey that assesses 140 cities and ranks them according to their stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Image Credit: Supplied

London: Melbourne has been declared the most liveable city in the world for the seventh year running by the Economist’s annual global liveability survey, while Sydney remains in 11th place.

It is the first time in the survey’s 15-year history that a city has held the No 1 rank in its own right for seven consecutive years. Vancouver, with which Melbourne shared the top-ranked spot from 2002 to 2004 and then toppled in 2011, held the title for six years.

The announcement delighted the city’s lord mayor, Robert Doyle. “This world record is an amazing feat that all Melburnians should be extremely proud of today,” he said.

Doyle said the accolade was “an important selling point for Melbourne internationally”, particularly in attracting international students. He has previously remarked on enjoying his annual call offering commiserations to the mayor of Vancouver. When the survey was released on Thursday his call was to the mayor of Vienna, which scored equally with Melbourne in all measures except culture and environment.

“There will always be naysayers and whingers, and of course we are not perfect,” Doyle said. “No great world city is, but we should be very proud of the work we all do together to make Melbourne the best city in the world.”

The annual survey assesses 140 cities and ranks them according to their stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure. Only “cities or business centres that people might want to live in or visit”, as determined by the survey’s authors, are included,

Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, appeared particularly pleased that Melbourne continued to outstrip its greatest rival, Sydney. “This is a win for all Victorians, who contribute so much to making Melbourne the best place to live in the world,” Andrews said. The Victorian Council of Social Services said the survey used “blunt measures that gloss over the realities of life in Melbourne for many people”, such as those sleeping rough in the central business district or unable to afford housing, and presented a “distorted picture of life”.

“Did the Economist survey anybody who’s living under a bridge or skipping meals to pay their power bill?” said its chief executive, Emma King. “If you’re struggling for money, sick, living with a disability or facing any kind of vulnerability, then life in Melbourne is bloody tough.”

All five Australian cities included in the survey are ranked inside the top 20: Adelaide at equal fifth place with Calgary in Canada; Perth ranked seventh; Sydney 11th, and Brisbane 16th. Just 3.3 percentage points separate the cities.

Auckland, Helsinki and Hamburg rounded out the top 10. Stability concerns, including the 2014 Lindt cafe siege, caused Sydney to drop four places, from seventh to 11th, last year. Manchester and Stockholm similarly fell in the rankings.