Photo: Steve Skjold/Shutterstock

Only 1 US City Made It on 2024’s Happiest City’s List

Minneapolis Travel
by Katie Scott Aiton May 29, 2024

Every year, the Institute of Quality of Life lists the happiest places in the world. Although what constitutes a “happy life” is hard to measure, the research institution thoroughly examines the multifaceted nature of happiness. It recognizes that what brings joy to a young person might differ vastly from the priorities of a senior citizen, and this year, the Happy City Index 2024 paints a broader picture.

The institute employed a mixed-method approach, incorporating both objective data and residents’ subjective experiences. The quantitative analysis considers a wide range of influences from work, health care, education, the physical environment (place), and community.

“The ranking was created on the basis of thousands of indicators thoroughly developed by our researchers that directly relate to the quality of life and the sense of happiness of its residents,” explains the institute.

By conducting both qualitative and quantitative research, the organization took a holistic approach, all while keeping in mind that material comforts do not solely determine happiness and factors like access to green spaces, a strong sense of community, and opportunities for personal growth have a considerable impact.

Instead of having a numbered list, cities were put into groups. European cities like Denmark, Zurich, Berlin, Gothenburg, and Amsterdam dominate the Golden tier. It’s not until you get halfway down the first grouping that a US city makes the cut. You might be surprised that Minneapolis has been crowned the happiest city in the US.

Boston came second, making the Silver grouping, along with Baltimore and Washington. While San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Madison, Pittsburgh, Rochester, and Portland made it into the final category of Bronze, rounding out the list of 250 cities.

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