PRESS RELEASE: Copenhagen tops Safe Cities Index 2021

After releasing the fourth edition of the Safe CIties Index, The Economist names Copenhagen as one of the top cities in the list. Read the full press release here:

The Economist Intelligence Unit (The EIU) today releases the fourth edition of the Safe Cities Index (SCI). The index, which is the centre piece of a research project sponsored by NEC Corporation, ranks 60 cities worldwide across five continents. It measures the multifaceted nature of urban safety, with 76 indicators organised along five pillars: personal, health, infrastructure, digital, and – new this year – environmental security.

In each of the last three iterations, Tokyo, Singapore and Osaka – always in that order – have been our index leaders. This year Copenhagen comes first, with 82.4 points out of 100, and Toronto follows close behind with 82.2. This change reflects not a tectonic shift but more a reordering among cities that have always come close to the top. In all four editions of our index, six cities – Amsterdam, Melbourne, Tokyo, Toronto, Singapore and Sydney – have all figured among the leading ten, with only a few points separating them.

Naka Kondo, senior editor of The EIU and editor of the SCI2021 report says: 

"Covid-19 is the first global pandemic to strike humanity since we became a predominantly urban species. Experts have told us covid-19 has changed the whole concept of urban safety. Digital security is now an even higher priority as more work and commerce have moved online; those responsible for infrastructure safety have to adjust to dramatic changes in travel patterns and where residents consume utilities; agencies responsible for personal security need to address a large, lockdown-driven shift in crime patterns; and the priority that urban residents and officials assign to environmental security has risen markedly as covid-19 serves as a stark warning of unexpected crises."

The index framework has been subjected to an extensive reevaluation and has undergone significant changes, including updates to existing indicators, updates to scoring methodology, addition of new indicators under existing domains and the addition of a new domain to the framework.

The introduction of the new pillar for environmental security in this year's index reflects the increased importance of sustainability issues and climate adaptation measures amid the pandemic. Toronto and Copenhagen performed noticeably better in the new environmental security pillar than do any of the top-three cities from earlier years. Interestingly, the index also shows that leading middle-income cities do far better in this area than in any other categories. In particular, three at this income level finish in the pillar's top ten: Bogota (4th); Rio de Janeiro (8th); and Kuala Lumpur (10th).

Research shows that the performance of different safety pillars correlates very closely with each other, signifying that different kinds of safety are thoroughly intertwined. The top performers in each pillar are as follows:

Digital security: Sydney (1), Singapore (2), Copenhagen (3), Los Angeles / San Francisco (4), 

Health security: Tokyo (1), Singapore (2), Hong Kong (3), Melbourne (4), Osaka (5) 

Infrastructure security: Hong Kong (1), Singapore (2), Copenhagen (3), Toronto (4), Tokyo (5) 

Personal security: Copenhagen (1), Amsterdam (2), Frankfurt (3), Stockholm (4), Brussels (5) 

Environmental Security: Wellington (1), Toronto (2), Washington DC (3), Bogota (4), Milan (5) 

The Safe Cities Index reveals that different global region have distinct strengths. In particular, well-off Asia-Pacific cities tend to perform better on average when it comes to health security and infrastructure security, while European cities on personal security and North American cities on digital security.

About the Safe Cities Index 2021 

The SCI 2021, similarly to the previous three editions, is centred around digital security, health security, infrastructure security, personal security and – new this year – environmental security. The 2021 index ranks 60 cities across 76 indicators. The 2021 framework has been refined to better capture a city's environmental security. For more on the index methodology, please see the methodology appendix at the end of the report.  Please access this link ( for the white paper, interactive tool to explore the rankings, and the index data workbook.