The 20 happiest cities in the world

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21 places in 12 countries

This is a list of the top 20 happiest cities in the world according the World Happiness Report which is based on data from 160+ countries. The Nordics and Oceania are heavily over-represented, but the happiest cities in the US and a few other countries made the list too.

We can't guarantee that you will be happier if you go to these places but they have to be doing something right. So what actually makes people happy? That is a big question, but some patterns emerge. Safety and security with low crime rates and strong social welfare systems are key. So are healthy economies where most people can find a job, as well as access to green spaces offering ways to connect with nature and participate in outdoor activities.

Find the happiest places on earth and their sources of happiness below.


City in🇫🇮 Finlandrated

Why is Helsinki the happiest city in the world?

Finland, in general, is known for its high quality of life, with a thriving economy with a vibrant job market, and low levels of crime. Helsinki has a very high standard of living, with a high level of healthcare and education, a robust social safety net, as well as ample access to green spaces and healthy acitivities, which can improve physical and mental health. The Finnish culture is very egalitarian, with a focus on social acceptance, which can lead to a sense of community and belonging. All of these factors contribute to a high level of life satisfaction and make Helsinki the happiest place in the world!

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City in🇩🇰 Denmarkrated

Why are people happy in Aarhus?

Aarhus is Denmark's second-largest city, and Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world. Aarhus has a high level of social cohesion, low crime rates, and a strong sense of community. The city is known for its cultural and art scene, excellent educational institutions, many green spaces and recreational opportunities, and beautiful surrounding countryside. Aarhus is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city, with a good work-life balance. The average salary is high, and the cost of living is relatively low compared to other cities in Denmark. There are excellent healthcare and education systems, and the public transport system is efficient and reliable. Perhaps the large student population also contributes to the overall happiness of the city.

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City in🇳🇿 New Zealandrated

Why are people happy in Wellington?

Wellington is the capital and second most populous city of New Zealand. It is consistently among the top cities in various happiness indexes. This is partly due to its temperate climate and being surrounded by natural beauty, which contributes to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle, and the city offers plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking and kayaking. Wellington also has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with many festivals, events, and galleries to explore. There is a strong sense of community, with many volunteer opportunities and social activities available to residents, and low levels of crime with a strong focus on looking out for one another. Finally, the city is commited to sustainability, with initiatives such as the Greenest City 2040 plan in place to ensure that Wellington continues to be a healthy and happy place to live.

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City in🇨🇭 Switzerlandrated

Why are people happy in Zurich?

People in Zurich are happier than people in most other countries for a variety of reasons. First, Zurich is Switzerland's largest city and serves as its economic and cultural hub making it one of the most affluent cities in the world, so the citizens have access to the highest quality of life. This includes a strong economy and high wages, excellent quality of life, and high levels of safety and security. Additionally, Zurich is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, which contributes to its sense of wellbeing. Finally, the people of Zurich are highly educated and have access to a wide range of cultural activities.

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City in🇩🇰 Denmarkrated

Why are people happy in Copenhagen?

Copenhagen boasts a strong economy, low unemployment, little crime, and a high standard of living. The city also has excellent public transportation, walkable streets, and plenty of green spaces, which makes it easier for people to commute and spend time outdoors. In addition, Copenhagen is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, as well as numerous restaurants and cafes, making it an enjoyable city to live in. Copenhagen also has a strong social safety net that provides citizens with access to free healthcare, education, and other public services. As the rest of Denmark it benefits from the Danish government's initiatives to promote happiness and well-being, such as the "hygge" concept, which encourages people to take time out for themselves and to enjoy the moment.

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City in🇳🇴 Norwayrated

Why are people happy in Bergen?

People in Bergen are generally considered to be among the happiest people in the world due to the city’s stunning natural beauty, strong sense of community, and high quality of life. Bergen is situated between seven mountains, two fjords and surrounded by lush forests and landscapes, providing plentiful opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and skiing. The city center has a vibrant cultural life with a wide range of excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars, and Bergen’s proximity to nature means that people can easily enjoy the outdoors even in their downtime. High levels of safety and security, good job opportunities, and a strong focus on education are also factors that contribute to the city’s happiness.

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City in🇳🇴 Norwayrated

Why are people happy in Oslo?

There are a number of factors that contribute to why people in Oslo are happier than most. Firstly, Norway has a very high standard of living, with a strong economy, a generous welfare system, and a high level of social equality. Norway is also a very safe country with low crime rates, and the people of Oslo enjoy a high quality of life with access to an abundance of leisure and recreational activities as the city is surrounded by stunning natural scenery, providing many opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation. The Norwegian government has placed an emphasis on protecting the environment and promoting sustainable development. This has resulted in citizens having access to safe and clean air and water, as well as access to green spaces.

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Tel Aviv

City in🇮🇱 Israelrated

Why are people happy in Tel Aviv?

Tel Aviv is known for its vibrant atmosphere, high quality of life and diverse population. This city has a lot to offer in terms of culture, art, nightlife, dining, and entertainment. People here are friendly and laid-back, and there is a sense of community with strong social connections throughout the city. The city is also very safe, and its beaches, parks and other public spaces are great places to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Additionally, Tel Aviv is one of the most innovative cities in the world, with a strong start-up culture and plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs.

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City in🇸🇪 Swedenrated

Why are people happy in Stockholm?

People in Stockholm are generally considered to be happier than in most other countries and cities because of the high quality of life that is experienced in the city. Stockholm is one of the most livable cities in the world known for its beautiful green spaces and access to nature, as well as its excellent public transportation system, efficient public services, and top-notch education. The city also has a low crime rate, and a thriving economy with low unemployment.

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City in🇮🇸 Icelandrated

Why are people happy in Reykjavik?

Iceland has a very small population with high levels of trust in the government and those who live there enjoy a high standard of living with strong social services, a strong economy, low levels of corruption, low taxes and high wages. Reykjavik also has a very, very low crime rate. Not to forget, Iceland has some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, which contributes to its high levels of happiness. Iceland is also one of the most environmentally conscious countries in the world, with a focus on renewable energy, green energy production, and conservation. These factors, combined with the country's focus on sports and community, create the high level of happiness experienced by people in Reykjavik.

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City in🇦🇺 Australiarated

Why are people happy in Melbourne?

Australians, or Aussies, are well-known for being laid-back, and this is very true in the country's second city. Melbourne has a strong economy and low unemployment. The city is full of cultural diversity and has a vibrant atmosphere, with a wide variety of activities and cuisines to enjoy. It is also home to beautiful parks and gardens, as well as a number of beaches. The city has good public transport, excellent education and healthcare facilities. The people of Melbourne are known for their positive attitude and friendly nature, which helps to create a positive and welcoming environment.

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City in🇦🇺 Australiarated

Why are people happy in Perth?

Another Australian city performing well in most happiness indexes is Perth. Perth is a city that offers a great quality of life and is situated in a beautiful part of the world. It has a highly educated population, a strong economy, and a safe and secure environment. The city boasts high wages, low unemployment, and a low cost of living compared to most of Australia. There is plenty to do, with excellent entertainment and cultural options and plenty of outdoor activities available. The climate is warm and sunny most of the year, and the population is diverse and friendly. All of this means people in Perth have plenty of reasons to be content.

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City in🇳🇿 New Zealandrated

Why are people happy in Auckland?

People in Auckland tend to be happier than people in most other countries due to its temperate climate, beautiful natural environment, excellent infrastructure, and a relatively low crime rate. Additionally, the city is known for its diverse cultural and ethnic make-up, which contributes to an overall feeling of inclusivity and acceptance. The high levels of education and strong economic growth also contribute to the feeling of well-being among Aucklanders. Finally, the city is well known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, which provides a wide range of entertainment options and opportunities for socialization.

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City in🇳🇿 New Zealandrated

Why are people happy in Christchurch?

The people of Christchurch have a strong sense of pride and a determination to make the most of their lives. This has helped the city to become one of the most liveable cities in the world. The city has a strong focus on recreation, culture, and wellbeing, with an abundance of green spaces for activities such as walking and biking. It also has a strong economy and a diverse population, with a vibrant arts and culture scene. All of these factors have combined to create a city that is both welcoming and optimistic, creating an atmosphere of happiness and contentment. People in Christchurch showed their resilience after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The city has recovered remarkably well, with a renewed focus on the people and the city’s future.

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City in🇦🇺 Australiarated

Why are people happy in Sydney?

Sydney is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture and excellent job prospects. It also has a strong economy and is one of the most inclusive cities in the world, offering a feeling of community and with strong social support networks. These factors combined contribute to people feeling more secure and content in their lives. Sydney also benefits from a generally warm and sunny climate, which helps to create an overall feeling of well-being, and keeps its fantastic parks and gardens lush and green.

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City in🇨🇦 Canadarated

Why are people happy in Toronto?

People in Toronto are generally very satisfied with their lives. The city is safe, diverse, vibrant, and welcoming. Toronto has a wide range of cultural activities and attractions, which help to boost the city's overall sense of happiness. Additionally, Toronto is ranked high in different happiness indexes due to its strong commitment to social justice, its excellent public services, and its overall quality of life.

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San José

City in🇨🇷 Costa Ricarated

Why are people happy in San José?

The people in San José, Costa Rica are happy thanks to its stunning scenery and natural beauty, which provides a daily source of happiness for many. In addition, the cost of living in San José is relatively low compared to other cities in the world, meaning that people can afford to have a comfortable life. Costa Rica is known for its culture of relaxation, with many people taking the time to enjoy life and appreciate the simpler things. The country has a very low crime rate and is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. It also has a well-developed social safety net, providing health care and education to all citizens.

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Washington D.C.

City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

Why are people happy in Washington D.C.?

Washington D.C. is home to the happiest people in America because of its strong economic and political stability, abundance of cultural activities, world-class educational opportunities, relative safety, and its diverse population. The city also has a low unemployment rate, good public transportation, and a variety of housing options. Last but not least, Washington D.C. is in close proximity to natural areas, like the Chesapeake Bay offering a green escape from the city. It is also one of the most pedestrian and bike friendly cities in the United States.

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City in🇺🇸 United Statesrated

Why are people happy in Dallas?

The cost of living in Dallas is relatively low compared to other large cities, making it a great place to live. Additionally, Dallas is home to several major attractions, such as the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, providing plenty of entertainment options. Dallas is also a great place to work and do business, with a strong job market and plenty of job opportunities.

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City in🇦🇺 Australiarated

Why are people happy in Brisbane?

Due to the Brisbane’s high quality of life and its relaxed pace of life. The city is known for its warm weather, outdoor lifestyle, and friendly locals. Brisbane ranks highly in different happiness indexes due to its strong economy, low unemployment rate, and overall low cost of living. Additionally, Brisbane has a variety of leisure activities for people of all ages, from the beach to the rainforest, and from the city center to the suburbs. The city also offers a wide variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year.

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