20 Safest Cities Ranked: Why These Places Have the Rest of the World Beat

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Looking for the Safest Place to Live in the World? Check Out These Top 20 Cities

When searching for a new place to call home, safety is often a top concern. No one wants to live somewhere they don’t feel secure. But with so many factors influencing safety, from crime rates to disaster preparedness, it can be tricky to identify truly safe havens.

That’s where the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index comes in.

Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index 2021:

9Hong Kong78.6
11New York City77.8
14Washington D.C.77.4
15San Francisco77.2
18Los Angeles76.5

Variables considered in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index:

Digital SecurityMeasures cybersecurity, privacy, internet access
Health SecurityLooks at healthcare availability, life expectancy, disease rates
Infrastructure SecurityCovers quality of transit, resilience to disasters, traffic safety
Personal SecurityExamines crime, terrorism, judicial system capacity
Environmental SecurityIncorporates sustainability policies, pollution levels, renewable energy use

This comprehensive report ranks 60 major cities worldwide across five pillars of urban safety: digital, health, infrastructure, personal, and environmental. Cities are scored on a 0-100 scale, with 100 being safest.

Based on the latest 2021 report, these are the 20 safest cities on Earth:

  1. Copenhagen, Denmark (Score: 82.4)

The Danish capital of Copenhagen tops the list as the world’s safest city. Copenhagen scores highly across all pillars of the index, with its strong healthcare system, low crime rates, high digital security, quality infrastructure, and progressive environmental policies cementing its #1 position.

  1. Toronto, Canada (Score: 82.2)

Toronto edges out other cities to rank second, thanks to its safe spaces, strong community ties, and good disaster preparedness. This diverse, thriving metropolis provides a high quality of life for residents.

  1. Singapore (Score: 80.7)

This sovereign city-state ranks third, with its low crime rates and strict law enforcement ensuring exceptional personal security. Singapore also excels in digital security and healthcare.

  1. Sydney, Australia (Score: 80.1)

Iconic Sydney takes fourth place, scoring well across all pillars. Effective policing and gun control contribute to low crime in Australia’s largest city.

  1. Tokyo, Japan (Score: 80.0)

Rounding out the top five is Tokyo, which offers superb health facilities, top-notch infrastructure, and advanced technological capabilities. Japan’s sprawling capital makes safety a priority.

  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands (Score: 79.3)

Progressive Amsterdam comes sixth, with its tiny carbon footprint, leading digital security, robust healthcare, and effective emergency services.

  1. Wellington, New Zealand (Score: 79.0)

Peaceful Wellington ties Melbourne for eighth place. New Zealand’s compact capital offers Kiwis low crime, clean air and water, and resilience to natural hazards.

  1. Melbourne, Australia (Score: 78.6)

Like its cousin Sydney, Melbourne provides Aussies with an enviable quality of life, scoring well across the board. An abundance of green space makes it especially liveable.

  1. Hong Kong, China (Score: 78.6)

Although currently facing political unrest, built-up Hong Kong still ranks ninth. This financial hub boasts low crime rates, advanced healthcare, and top-tier infrastructure.

  1. Stockholm, Sweden (Score: 78.0)

Completing the top ten is Stockholm, which scores well for its green spaces, clean air and water, and lack of natural disaster risk. Sweden’s capital is a great place to settle down.

  1. Barcelona, Spain (Score: 77.8)

Vibrant Barcelona comes in at eleventh, thanks to its sunny Mediterranean climate and low risk of natural disasters. Street crime has fallen dramatically here in recent years.

  1. New York, USA (Score: 77.8)

Despite its towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, New York City feels surprisingly secure. America’s most populous city continues to invest heavily in safety infrastructure and policing.

  1. Frankfurt, Germany (Score: 77.7)

Frankfurt, Europe’s financial powerhouse, takes thirteenth place. This cosmopolitan German city boasts low crime, robust healthcare, and plenty of disaster contingency plans.

  1. Washington, D.C., USA (Score: 77.4)

As the political heart of America, Washington D.C. unsurprisingly prioritizes safety and security. Restrictive gun laws also contribute to its high ranking.

  1. London, UK (Score: 77.2)

Despite being a prime terrorist target, London ranks fifteenth for its world-class health facilities and longstanding commitment to sustainability. The UK capital takes safety in stride.

  1. San Francisco, USA (Score: 77.2)

Tech-savvy San Francisco shares the fifteenth spot with London. This hilly Californian city excels in digital security and environmental policies but is let down byproperty crime woes.

  1. Osaka, Japan (Score: 76.7)

Japanese cities continue to dominate the index, with Osaka next in seventeenth place. Significant investment in advanced IT infrastructure helps this port city excel in digital security.

  1. Los Angeles, USA (Score: 76.5)

Sunny LA takes the next spot. Although natural disasters are a fact of life here, this American entertainment hub still provides a secure lifestyle for Angelenos.

  1. Zurich, Switzerland (Score: 76.3)

Zurich, known for stability and prosperity, comes nineteenth. Switzerland’s largest metropolis enjoys clean air and water plus tip-top health facilities.

  1. Chicago, USA (Score: 75.0)

Rounding out the top twenty is the Windy City, Chicago. This Midwest marvel leaves little to chance, implementing sound digital security and rigorous emergency planning.

How the Scores Were Calculated

The Economist Intelligence Unit took a comprehensive approach to evaluating urban safety across the 60 cities in the index. They assessed cities based on 76 quantitative and qualitative indicators that roll up into the five pillars of digital, health, infrastructure, personal, and environmental security.

To measure digital security, for example, the index looked at factors like the percentage of residents with internet access, the number of secure internet servers, and the risk of cyber attacks. For health security, it analyzed healthcare availability, life expectancy, and infant mortality rates.

Infrastructure security considered the quality of transit systems, resilience to disasters, and deaths from traffic accidents. Personal security examined crime rates, gun laws, terrorist threats, and judicial capacity. Finally, environmental security incorporated sustainability policies, air pollution levels, and renewable energy incentives.

The index utilizes both hard data, such as mortality rates, and expert assessments on qualitative issues like corruption levels. The Economist Intelligence Unit normalizes the quantitative data on a 0-100 scale and assigns scores from 0-4 for qualitative measures.

After scoring each underlying indicator, the pillars were aggregated based on an assigned weighting to generate the overall domain scores. The five pillars were then weighted equally to calculate the final city scores and rankings.

This rigorous methodology allows the Safe Cities Index to assess urban security through multiple lenses. Combined with on-the-ground expertise about each city, the index provides an authoritative and multidimensional perspective on the safest places to live in the world.

So there you have it – the 20 safest cities worldwide according to the Economist! From serene Scandinavian capitals to sleek Asian hubs, these urban areas allow residents to feel secure and enjoy a high quality of life. If you’re considering a move somewhere new, be sure to keep these safety havens in mind.

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