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    These 10 cities are among the world’s happiest: new report

    By Addy Bink,


    (NEXSTAR) – The U.S. may have fallen off the list of the happiest countries for the first time this year but that doesn’t mean there aren’t pockets of happy folks across the nation . In fact, 10 U.S. cities recently ranked among the happiest cities in the world.

    Researchers with the Institute for Quality of Life, a London-based organization, recently released its latest ‘Happy City Index’ of the 250 happiest cities in the world. They analyzed various “indicators…that directly relate to the quality of life and the sense of happiness of its residents.”

    Cities needed to have at least 300,000 inhabitants, though those “whose achievements distinguish them substantially from others, have been added,” researchers explained. They were all ranked based on five areas that “have a direct impact on happiness”: citizens, governance, environment, economy, and mobility.

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    Within those areas were 24 subcategories, like the city’s educational system and safety of the transportation system. All 250 cities were then put into one of three groups: golden, silver, and bronze rather than giving them a number ranking.

    Sporting the highest overall score was Aarhus, Denmark, which just beat out Zurich, Switzerland.

    The 17 highest-scoring cities all fell in Europe, specifically within Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, and Iceland.

    While Europe dominated the golden group, comprising 37 cities, one U.S. city made the coveted group: Minneapolis, Minnesota. Scoring highly among the economic category, Minneapolis narrowly edged out Basel, Switzerland.

    In total, 10 U.S. cities landed on The Happy City Index. Ranked among the ‘silver’ cities were Boston; Baltimore; and the District of Columbia. Bronze cities were San Francisco; Salt Lake City; Madison, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh; Rochester, Minnesota; and Portland, Oregon.

    Only one of those cities, San Francisco, recently ranked among the 10 happiest cities in the U.S.

    Earlier this year, personal finance website SmartAsset reviewed the nation’s 90 largest cities based on 11 “happiness” factors, including life expectancy, marriage rates, traffic volume, and the number of residents making $100,000 or more.

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    Arlington, Virginia – which does have a population below 300,000 – ranked as the happiest city in that index. SmartAsset’s researchers attributed Arlington’s happiness to its residents’ long life expectancies.

    San Francisco came in at No. 10, while Minneapolis ranked as No. 14 in that report. Portland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Boston all ranked outside of the top 25, while the District of Columbia, Salt Lake City, Madison, and Rochester failed to make SmartAsset’s list at all.

    But, as the researchers behind the Happy City Index note , it’s hard to measure anyone’s happiness based on numbers.

    “There is no statistical woman or man whose sense of happiness can be studied by locating her or his in different cities of the world. In each location, a bunch of other determinants affect the feeling of happiness.”

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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