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Here’s where the happiest (and unhappiest) people live in Germany

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected]
Here’s where the happiest (and unhappiest) people live in Germany
A couple kiss on the beach in St. Peter-Ording, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: DPA

Germans are the happiest they've been in decades, a new survey has found. But some places are a bit more cheerier than others.


On a scale of one to 10, Germans on average rated their general life satisfaction this year at 7.14, a jump from 2018 when the rating was 7.05, according to  Deutsche Post’s so-called “Happiness Atlas” project.

And the happiness level of people living in east Germany rose by 0.11 points to an all-time high of 7 points – the highest value ever measured since the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago. However, the happiness rating in the east is still 0.17 points behind the west.

So who are the happiest people in Germany? And who’s not so satisfied.

Well, once again, the country’s northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein is home to the most upbeat people. The happiness rating there is a whopping 7.44 out of 10. It has taken the top spot since 2013. Meanwhile, the state of Brandenburg comes in last with a rating 6.76.

READ ALSO: This is why people in northwest Germany are the happiest

Below are the rankings of each region on a scale of one to 10:

Map translated by Statista for The Local Germany.

Bernd Raffelhüschen, of the University of Freiburg and author of the study, said the record levels of happiness in Germans this year are partly down to the “continuing good employment situation and the positive development of household incomes”.

Here's the rundown of the happiest to unhappiest places:

1 Schleswig-Holstein

2 Hesse

3 Hamburg

4 Franconia

5 Bavaria South

6 North Rhine/Cologne

7 Baden

8 Rhineland-Palatinate/Saarland

9 Württemberg

10 Lower Saxony/Hanover

11 Lower Saxony/North Sea

12 Nordrhein/Düsseldorf

13 Westphalia

14 Thuringia

15 Saxony

16 Berlin

17 Saxony-Anhalt

18 Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

19 Brandenburg

Why are people in the north so happy?

Why might Schleswig-Holstein be the happiest place? Home to beautiful nature with rolling, green countryside and sandy beaches on the North sea and the Baltic, this stunning region attracts lots of holidaymakers.

And residents there are more than satisfied with their housing and leisure situation (this received a rating of 7.69 out of 10, although their disposable income is pretty much in line with the national average.

READ ALSO: 10 incredible facts about Schleswig-Holstein, the 'land between two seas'

Perhaps it's down to the close proximity with Denmark (shown on the map below). In a European comparison, the Danes are the front-runners in happiness, thanks in part to a strong welfare state and a culture of cosiness and making each other feel comfortable.

According to Eurobarometer data, Germany ranks 10th on the happiness list, ahead of its neighbour France (in the 17th spot). Meanwhile, the British and Austrians, for example, are more satisfied than the Germans.

Photo: Depositphotos/Lesniewski

In Deutsche Post Happiness Atlas, the eastern German state of Brandenburg landed at the bottom of the table. People there rated their happiness as 6.76 out of 10, 0.08 points lower than in 2018.

In fact, in all areas of satisfaction (life, leisure, work, health and household income), residents of Brandenburg are at the bottom of the Germany-wide rankings.

The gap is biggest when it comes to the question "How satisfied are you with your health? People in Brandenburg rated their life satisfaction at 6.0 points. This is 0.6 points less than the national average (6.6 points).

For the report, data from a large long-term study conducted by the German Institute for Economic Research (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung) and current surveys with several thousand respondents were evaluated.

Gender equality creates more job satisfaction

In addition to the regional differences in life satisfaction, this year's special section of the Glücksatlas asked to what extent gender equality and diversity are already in place at work in Germany and how this diversity affects job satisfaction. 

For two thirds of employees, working in diverse teams has a positive effect on their own job satisfaction, and both men and women see it this same way.

It also contributes to a "better working atmosphere", according to 42 percent of respondents, and in "more creativity", according to 31 percent. In companies that are open to the topic of gender equality, there is evidence that employees are more satisfied.

READ ALSO: How Bavaria plans to shake up German working time rules

Family-friendly offers by employers also contribute to more gender equality and also strengthen job satisfaction. A total of 22 percent of employees who are offered at least one family-friendly service at their workplace are very satisfied with their working life. For those who have no choice, the figure is only 15 percent.

Although 45 percent of working Germans perceive and welcome company initiatives for more equality, they still see gender-specific disadvantages. For example, 25 percent of women, but only 16 percent of men, think they have worse career prospects than their colleagues of the opposite sex.

Overall, 59 percent of women and 45 percent of men think that more must be done in our society to promote equality between women and men.

Thomas Ogilvie, group board member for human resources and labour director of Deutsche Post DHL Group, said: "Employers' measures for gender equality increase the job satisfaction of employees and this in turn has a positive effect on companies".



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