Despite threats posed by global warming, terrorism and military conflict, the largest cities in the world have become more livable, according to The Economist magazine.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's annual livability survey of 140 cities was released this week and it showed that, among the sampled cities, the average livability score has increased by 0.5 percentage points, to just under 76 on a scale of zero to 100.

The improvement has been driven by increases in cities' "stability" score, which is a measure of factors including the threat of terror attacks, crime, military conflict and civil unrest.

"Devastating terrorist attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the past year are a reminder that threats to security are still apparent, but perceptions of the danger posed by terrorism have diminished in recent years," the report said.

At the same time, the report said there has been a general decline in cities' culture and environment scores, mainly due to emerging markets suffering the effects of climate change.

"The incidence of extreme weather events, such as flooding and heat waves, is rising around the world, and cities in emerging markets are often the most directly affected and the least resilient," the report said. "That said, we see climate change as a global phenomenon, which threatens the livability of cities at the very top of the index too."

Among the 10 cities ranked the most liveable, a common trait was strong scores in education and health care. All the top cities got perfect scores for their education systems, and all but one achieved scores of 100 for their health-care services.

The report noted that the top 10 cites on the livability list were the same as last year, with a few cities changing places.

The least livable city on the list was Damascus, Syria, mainly because of a civil war that has been raging for more than eight years.

The following, in ascending order, are The Economist's top 10 liveable cities:

9. Adelaide, Australia

The city, which lies northwest of Melbourne on the country's southern coast, achieved a perfect 100 score in health care and education.