Which of Germany's big cities has the happiest residents?

The Local Germany
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Which of Germany's big cities has the happiest residents?
Young people look at the view from Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

The newly released SKL Happiness Atlas ranked 12 big cities in Germany according to the life satisfaction levels of their residents. Here's which cities topped and flopped on the list - including a few surprises.


According to the newly released SKL Happiness Atlas, Hamburg residents lead the ranking, with 7.16 out of 10 total points assessing their overall satisfaction. 

The northern city-state was followed by Frankfurt am Main with 7.07 points and Munich with 6.90 points. 

At the bottom of the life satisfaction list were fellow harbourside city-state Bremen with 6.50 points, Dresden with 6.49 points and Leipzig with 6.44 points.

According to the survey organisers, people’s happiness levels are most strongly influenced by their satisfaction with their income and their view of the city as a business location. 

The gross domestic product per capita in Hamburg, for example, is €64,000, but only €38,000 in Leipzig, which came in last place.

A few surprises

According to the survey, people in Hamburg, Frankfurt and Munich stand out with above-average personal happiness scores and a high level of satisfaction with business opportunities and public administration, for example. 


Somewhat surprisingly, Berlin snagged fourth place with 6.88 points on the satisfaction scale. The Hauptstadt is notorious for its ‘Berliner Schnauze’, or perceived rudeness of many residents.

According to the survey, Berliners are very satisfied with their personal lives, income and working life, but not with city services, especially the administration.

Berlin Skyline with TV tower

Berlin city skyline with the iconic Television Tower at Alexander Platz and the River Spree. Also visible is the town hall "Rotes Rathaus". Photo: Getty Images

Placed in the middle of the survey were Hanover with 6.75 points, Düsseldorf with 6.69 points, Cologne with 6.65 points and Essen with 6.63 points.

Business-friendly Stuttgart came in at a surprisingly weak ninth place at 6.54 points, due to survey-takers stating a high dissatisfaction with their sense of belonging in the southwestern city.


The two last-placed cities, Dresden and Leipzig, combine a somewhat older population and comparatively weak economies. 

In contrast to Berlin, people in Dresden are also rather dissatisfied with their personal lives, but enthusiastic about their city.

On behalf of the Süddeutsche Klassenlotterie, a total of 3,001 people between 16 and 74 years of age in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Leipzig, Dresden, Hanover, Bremen and Essen were surveyed between March 30th and April 24th. 

The respondents could give between zero and ten points: the higher the score, the higher the satisfaction.


citizens/residents (depending on context) - (die) Bürger

sense of belonging - (die) Zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl

survey takers - (die) Die Befragten

business/economic location - (der) Wirtschaftsstandort

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