The Economist’s Intelligence Unit has released a ranking of the safest major cities in the world, and Tokyo comes out on top.
The capital of Japan is followed by the sovereign city-state of Singapore and Osaka in Japan. The Economist’s Safe Index 2015 doesn’t simply measure crime, but rather has a wide-ranging view of safety.
Here are the factors it ranks 50 cities on:
- Digital security — This measures the quality of a city’s cybersecurity, the frequency of identity theft, and other factors related to digital security.
- Health security — This metric looks at average life expectancy of a city’s citizens as well as the ratio of hospital beds to the size of the population.
- Infrastructure — This looks at factors like the quality of roads and the number of people who die from natural disasters.
- Personal safety — This category looks at more traditional safety measures like crime, the level of police engagement, and the number of violent crimes.
The Economist’s ranking looked at 50 cities and chose them based on regional representation and availability of data. New York and Los Angeles lead in digital security, while Zurich takes the top spot for both health security and infrastructure safety. Here’s how the other cities measure up over-all.
With a population of 13.3 million people, Tokyo is both the most populous and the safest city in the ranking. It also ranks number one for digital security and in the top five for personal safety and infrastructure despite its huge population and its earthquakes. The city is relatively well-off and ranks number one on the Index’s list of “upper-middle income cities” (with per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of between $30,000 and $50,000).
Tokyo is famous for its nightlife and was immortalized in the movie “Lost in Translation.
Singapore ranks number one in overall personal safety, according to the Index, which noted that traditional crimes like burglary and theft are at a decades-long low.
Singapore has notoriously tough penalties for all crimes, including low-level offenses, which might contribute to its extremely low crime rate, the BBC reported in 2013. At the time, the BBC also reported that Singapore had the second-lowest murder rate in the world (excluding Palau and Monaco).
With violent crime under control, the local police have been targeting cybercrime. President Tony Tan Keng Yam has set out to improve digital security and hopefully make Singapore a “smart city.” The city-state should have the funds to do that. It had the highest GDP per capita among “high income” cities (cities with more than $50,000 per capita GDP).
The Japanese city of 2.6 million ranks second in personal safety and sixth in health security. Like Tokyo, Osaka is relatively wealthy and ranks second for GDP, per capita among upper-middle income cities.
The city ranks lower in digital security than Tokyo, as it has fewer cyber security teams and privacy policies.
The Swedish capital of 909,000 ranks seventh in digital security and 10th in health security. It’s the only non-Asian city to rank in the top five in personal safety. Like many European countries, Sweden has universal healthcare.
This city of 820,000 is famous for its legal marijuana, but it also has amazing infrastructure that makes it one of the safest cities in the world. Amsterdam ranks fourth in infrastructure safety, a list dominated by high- and upper-middle income cities that have reduced car accidents and pollution from traffic congestion. With its pervasive cycling culture, Amsterdam has managed to do both. The city also ranks in the top 10 for personal safety.
This Australian city of 4.5 million people ranks in the top 10 for both infrastructure security and personal safety. However, Sydney lags behind in digital security and health security, in which it ranks 14th and 17th, respectively.
Australia has some of the highest incidences of cybercrime in the world: Australians have become prime targets for internet fraud and identity thieves, according to the Daily Telegraph
Zurich ranks the highest in the categories of health safety and infrastructure security, with its excellent universal health coverage and well-designed transport systems. The city’s wealth makes it easier to invest in urban safety: in the ranking’s “high income” category of cities with per capita GDP of $50,000, Zurich ranks second behind Singapore.
Toronto, the most populous city in Canada, is the best city to live in terms of safety, business environment, democracy, food security, cost of living, and livability, according to the Index. It also ranks in the top 10 in the categories of infrastructure safety and personal safety. Dubbed “Hollywood North,” Toronto is the frequent setting for films and movies that are supposedly filmed in the US.
The city of 4 million has the second-safest infrastructure of the 50 cities ranked and ranks eighth in the category of personal safety. It’s no coincidence that Melbourne has one of the highest life expectancies of any city in the world at 86 years. As the report notes, “Living in a safe and healthy urban environment can make a real and measurable difference to city inhabitants.”
The report also found that it is the sixth-best city in the world to live in, when factors like safety and cost of living are taken into account.
10. New York
New York is the only US city to make it into the top 10 safest cities overall, ranking second for health security and third for digital safety. The city has come a long way since 1990, when an average of six homicides occurred every day. Still, the city faces new dangers like terrorist threats and the potential of cyberwar that could shut down crucial infrastructure.
This article first appeared in Business Insider