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Salt Lake City in rarified air as one of world's happiest cities

Posted at 11:20 AM, Jun 17, 2024

SALT LAKE CITY — If Salt Lake City residents are walking around with even bigger smiles on their faces than normal over the next few days or weeks, it's for good reason.

They're happy!

Utah's capital city sits among exclusive company as one of the world's happiest cities, one of 250 global cities listed on the Happy City Index from the Institute for Quality of Life. Only 10 cities on the entire list are located in the U.S., and Salt Lake City is one of them.

"Importantly, we do not analyze the happiness of an imaginary individual in every location in the world, but people actually living in these cities," the institute wrote.

According to the institute, the rankings reflect the actual well-being of residents, with five factors being accounted for: Citizens, Governance, Environment, Economy and Mobility.

"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," the institute added. "In each location, a bunch of other determinants affects the feeling of happiness."

The list of 250 cities is broken up into Gold, Silver and Bronze sections.

Salt Lake City was ranked 145th overall with a total score of 1395.7, and was deemed a "bronze" city. It ranked high in the Governance and Economy factors, while surprisingly, especially considering the outdoor focus of Utah, ranking lowest in Environment.

Minneapolis was the only U.S. city to achieve "gold" status, while Boston, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. were the only "silver" U.S. locations.

Overall, Aarhus, Denmark was ranked as the happiest city in the world, with Zurich and Berlin rounding out the Top 3.

"One size does not fit it all," said the institute. "We believe it is not possible to fairly well identify a single city that should be considered the best in terms of ensuring the happiness of its inhabitants."


1. Aarhus, Denmark
2. Zurich, Switzerland
3. Berlin, Germany
4. Gothenburg, Sweden
5. Amsterdam, Netherlands
6. Helsinki, Finland
7. Bristol, UK
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
9. Geneva, Switzerland
10. Munich, Germany
18. Minneapolis
38. Boston
57. Baltimore
85. Washington D.C.
114. San Francisco
167. Madison, Wisconsin
190. Pittsburgh
214. Rochester, Minnesota
237. Portland, Oregon