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The Most Dangerous Cities in the World

5. Kinshasa, Democratic Rep. of the Congo
> GDP per capita: $185.96 (4th lowest)
> Adult literacy rate: 67.2%

> Adult mortality rate per 1,000: 357
> Population living on < $1 per day: 59.2%

The Democratic Republic of Congo is no stranger to violence and crime, as warring and aggressive bordering nations leave the country in a perpetual state of upheaval. GDP per capita in the DRC in 2010 was estimated to be just $186 per year, the fourth lowest in the world. More than one in three adults are expected to die before they reach the age of 60. According a travel warning issued in August by the Department of State, “Kinshasa has a critical crime threat, and U.S. citizens continue to be the victims of serious crimes, including armed robbery by groups posing as law enforcement officials in both urban and rural areas, especially after nightfall.” The state department also strongly suggests that travelers “avoid taking photos in public, especially of government buildings and the airport (which are viewed as places of national security), police stations, the presidential palace, border crossings, and along the river, since doing so may lead to arrest.”

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4. Bangui, Central African Republic
> GDP per capita: $429 (11th lowest)
> Adult literacy rate: 48.6%
> Adult mortality rate per 1,000: 456
> Population living on < $1 per day: 64.4%

In the Central African Republic, an estimated 45.6% of the country’s residents who reach the age of 15 die before they make it to 60. This is the 12th-worst recorded mortality rate in the world. A staggering 64.4% of the nation’s residents live on less than $1 each day. According to the Department of State, “Bangui [the capital city] suffers from elevated crime rates for both petty and violent crime, as well as particularly limited transport and medical options. CAR military and civilian security forces (and people posing as such) staff checkpoints throughout the city, frequently harassing international residents and visitors for bribes.”

3. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
> GDP per capita: $1,042.52 (41st lowest)
> Adult literacy rate: 48.7%
> Adult mortality rate per 1,000: 390
> Population living on < $1 per day: 20.4%

After former-president Laurent Gbagbo refused to give up power following his loss in the October, 2010 election, violence broke out in Côte d’Ivoire. Gbagbo has since been arrested and is set to go on trial at The Hague. However, according to the Department of State, “Although Abidjan [the largest city in the country] is considerably calmer since the arrest of former President Gbagbo, law and order have yet to return to all of Abidjan’s neighborhoods and some parts of the countryside.”

2. N’Djamena, Chad
> GDP per capita: $837.01 (34th lowest)
> Adult literacy rate: 12.2%
> Adult mortality rate per 1,000: 447
> Population living on < $1 per day: 58.7%

Just 12.2% of Chad’s population is literate, the third-worst rate in the world according to the UN. Also, 447 out of every 1,000 residents who reach the age of 15 will not make it to the age of 60. According to the Department of State, the capital city of N’Djamena is actually the safest place to be in the country. The fact that the city is still rated by Mercer as the second most dangerous city in the world is proof of how unsafe the country as a whole is. In June, the Bureau of Consular affairs issued a travel warning to the country, and has prohibited any government employees to travel outside of N’Djamena.

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1. Baghdad, Iraq
> GDP per capita: $2,531.15 (66th lowest)
> Adult literacy rate: 74.1%
> Adult mortality rate per 1,000: 291
> Population living on < $1 per day: n/a

Nearly nine years after the U.S. began combat operations in Iraq, violence continues to ravage the capital city of Baghdad. Intermittent suicide bombings, random gunfire, roadside bombs and other attacks still occur throughout the city. In the past two weeks, dozens of Iraqi civilians have been killed in separate events. With American troops set to completely depart the country within weeks, many are unsure whether Iraqi security forces can keep the region at even the current level of stability.

-Michael B. Sauter