What goes into an evaluation of whether or not a city is safe? Crime? Personal liberty? Dangerously dirty air? Bad weather brought on by climate change? The Economist Intelligence Unit released its biennial Safe Cities Index, which attempts to answer the question. According to the index, the world’s most dangerous city is Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar.
The Economist study looks at five factors of security: digital security, health security, infrastructure security, personal security, and environmental security. Each of these is broken into more specific indicators, a total of 76, all factored into the score. Each metric is measured across 60 cities, with a total possible high score of 100, with 100 being best health, or safest. Cities are categorized as very high (75.1 to 100), high (50.1 to 75), medium (25.1 to 50), and low (0 to 25).
Among the broad factors that affect the ranking is the rise of COVID-19 globally and its presence in the world’s largest cities. In the report, Fang Zhao, professor of innovation and strategy at Staffordshire Business School, explains, “covid-19 has changed the whole concept of urban safety.”
The report is sponsored by the NEC Corporation, which has an unusually visible presence in the EIU study.
The safest cities in the world are in highly developed nations, including Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, and the United States. Many of these countries are among the countries where people have the highest average net incomes.
The top-rated city, at 82.4, is Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, followed by Toronto (82.2), Singapore (80.7), Sydney (80.1), Tokyo (80.0), Amsterdam (79.3), and New Zealand’s capital of Wellington (79.0). The top-rated U.S. city is New York (77.8).
All the cities with the lowest ratings are in developing or emerging nations. The city with the worst rating is Yangon, the largest city in Myanmar, at 39.5. The city is known for its aging infrastructure and poverty. It has a population of about 5.2 million people. The health care system is also considered substandard.
Joining Yangon at the bottom of the list are Karachi (the capital of Pakistan and one of the largest cities in the world) with a score of 39.7, Caracas (the capital of Venezuela) at 40.5, and Cairo at 43.7. Some of these are also among the 50 most densely populated cities in the world.