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These are officially the safest cities in the world

The Economist has crunched the stats once again – and figured out which cities are the most secure

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

The go-to ranking of the world’s safest cities is in, and top of the charts this year is… Copenhagen! Ranked according to digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental security, on a scale of 0 to 100 the Danish capital scored 82.4, just pipping Toronto (82.2) and followed by Singapore (80.7), Sydney (80.1) and Tokyo (80).

But what does it mean to be safe? How exactly do you measure safety? The answer is, unsurprisingly, really wide-ranging. Each year, the Economist Intelligence Unit delves into dozens of factors affecting present and future city life, ranking 60 cities by 76 indicators within five broad categories of security  digital, health, infrastructure, personal and environmental.

For digital security, Sydney scored highest. When it comes to things like internet access, privacy and cyber security, the Aussie city is consistently one of the best.

More relevant than ever over the course of the past 18 months, health security examines cities’ access to healthcare, mental health infrastructure, pandemic response and more. Unsurprisingly, masked-up Tokyo emerges as the leader – also benefiting from Japan’s famously high life expectancy.

Infrastructure security takes into account everything from transport safety and pedestrian-friendliness to disaster management, water supplies and power networks. Hong Kong comes out clearly on top: this being a metropolis that is as well connected and densely populated as they come. 

Eventual chart-topper Copenhagen excels most at personal security, which looks at not just crime and the justice system but corruption and potential terrorism too. The final category, environmental security, is new this year and measures future preparedness, focusing on air quality, renewable energy, waste management and more. Wellington tops that.

But we’re already used to singing Copenhagen’s praises. After all, it did come out fourth in our 2021 ranking of the best cities in the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit has been undertaking its safe city rankings every two years since 2015. Its top rankings are usually taken up by the above names, as well as the likes of Osaka, Amsterdam and Melbourne. This is the first year that Copenhagen has taken the crown.

If you fancy seeing how your city stacks up in the rankings, head over to the Economist Safe Cities website. And if you’re simply itching to get stuck into the numbers, you can download the index’s report and workbook on the Economist’s white paper site.

Now check out our ranking of the best cities in the world for 2021.

And read this: How Copenhagen became the greenest city in Europe. 

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