Safest cities in the world – ranked

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Ranking the safest cities in the world, according to the latest Safe Cities Index report from The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Tokyo is the safest city in the world
Tokyo is the safest city in the world (Shutterstock)

The Safe Cities Index is a report from the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The report, now in its third iteration, ranks a diverse range of 60 major cities from around the world using 57 indicators covering digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security. 

More than 56% of the world’s population live in cities. By 2050, this is expected to increase to 68%, which reflects a faster rise in urbanisation than previously predicted.

The process of urbanisation is happening most noticeably in developing countries. The report suggests the challenges of urbanisation could cause significant human and economic issues if not dealt with effectively.

The report is designed to provide a detailed “benchmarking tool that measures a wide range of security inputs and results to help cities provide security for their residents, businesses and visitors”.

Four pillars of security

The various indicators are grouped into four pillars, each with their own separate ranking: digital security, health security, infrastructure security and personal security. 

Digital security

1. Tokyo
2. Singapore
3. Chicago
4. Washington, DC
5. = Los Angeles
5. = San Francisco

Health security

1. Osaka
2. Tokyo
3. Seoul
4. = Amsterdam
4. = Stockholm

Infrastructure security

  1. Singapore
  2. Osaka
  3. Barcelona
  4. Tokyo
  5. Madrid

Personal security

  1. Singapore
  2. Copenhagen
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Tokyo
  5. Wellington

Key findings from the report

  • Tokyo in Japan is the safest city in the world for the third time in a row.
  • Lagos in Nigeria is the most unsafe city assessed.
  • Asia-Pacific cities dominate the ranking with six of the top 10 in the region.
  • The Dutch city of Amsterdam (4th) is the safest city in Europe, followed by Copenhagen in Denmark (tied 8th).
  • Of the 14 European cities in the Index, only Istanbul and Moscow fall below the average score of 71.2.
  • Toronto in Canada is the safest city in the Americas.
  • The only US city in the top 10 is the capital Washington DC (7th), although Chicago just missed out in 11th place.
  • At the other end of the spectrum Caracas in Venezuala (59th), Yangon in Myanmar (58th), Karachi in pakistan (57th) and Dhaka in Bangladesh (56th) join Lagos among the least safe cities.
10 safest and least safe cities in the world
The 10 top and bottom cities (EIU)

Safest cities in the world – complete ranking

The table below ranks 60 of the world’s cities according to safety.

1Tokyo, Japan92.00
2Singapore, Singapore91.50
3Osaka, Japan90.90
4Amsterdam, Netherlands88.00
5Sydney, Australia87.90
6Toronto, Canada87.80
7Washington DC, USA87.60
8Copenhagen, Denmark87.40
8Seoul, South Korea87.40
10Melbourne, Australia87.30
11Chicago, USA86.70
12Stockholm, Sweden86.50
13San Francisco, USA85.90
14London, UK85.70
15New York, USA85.50
16Frankfurt, Germany85.40
17Los Angeles, USA85.20
18Wellington, New Zealand84.50
18Zurich, Switzerland84.50
20Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR83.70
21Dallas, USA83.10
22Taipei, Taiwan82.50
23Paris, France82.40
24Brussels, Belgium82.10
25Madrid, Spain81.40
26Barcelona, Spain81.20
27Abu Dhabi, UAE79.50
28Dubai, UAE79.10
29Milan, Italy78.10
30Rome, Italy76.40

Average: 71.2

31Beijing, China70.50
32Shanghai, China70.20
33Santiago, Chile69.80
34Buenos Aires, Argentina69.70
35Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia66.30
36Istanbul, Turkey66.10
37Moscow, Russia65.80
38Kuwait City, Kuwait64.50
39Riyadh, Saudi Arabia62.50
40Mexico City, Mexico61.60
41Rio de Janeiro, Brazil60.90
42Sao Paulo, Brazil59.70
43Manila, Philippines59.20
44Johannesburg, South Africa58.60
45Lima, Peru58.20
45Mumbai, India58.20
47Bangkok, Thailand57.60
47Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam57.60
49Baku, Azerbaijan56.40
50Quito, Ecuador55.30
51Bogota, Colombia55.10
52New Delhi, India55.00
53Jakarta, Indonesia54.50
54Casablanca, Morocco53.50
55Cairo, Egypt48.60
56Dhaka, Bangladesh44.60
57Karachi, Pakistan43.50
58Yangon, Myanma41.90
59Caracas, Venezuela40.10
60Lagos, Nigeria38.10

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)