What is it that makes a city 'happy'? Is it the number of things there are to do in the area? Maybe it's the number of outdoor recreation spots. We'll dig into that a bit more because a Minnesota city and a Wisconsin city have been named some of the happiest in the entire country for 2024!

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There were 182 cities in the rankings done by Wallethub. While neither the Minnesota nor the Wisconsin city take home the title of 'happiest city', one of them is in the top 5 and the other is in the top 20.

Portrait of Happy Family In Park
Catherine Yeulet, Thinkstock

What Makes a City 'Happy'?

Wallethub says that the perfect formula for happiness includes "a positive mental state, healthy body, strong social connections, job satisfaction and financial well-being."

Group of friends partying in a nightclub

There were 30 "key indicators" that they looked at to determine the rankings. Some of those include depression rate, income-growth rate, average leisure time spent per day, sports participation rate, and adequate sleep rate.

2023's Happiest Cities in the Country

Wallethub did this study last year, too. So let's take a look at last year's ratings and see how they compare to this year's.

20. Fargo, ND

19. Aurora, IL

18. Yonkers, NY

17. Minneapolis, MN

16. Scottsdale, AZ

15. San Diego, CA

14. Huntington Beach, CA

13. Oakland, CA

12. Bismark, ND

11. Seattle, WA

10. Burlington, VT

9. South Burlington, VT

8. Sioux Falls, SD

7. Columbia, MD

6. Irvine, CA

5. San Francisco, CA

4. Overland Park, KS

3. Madison, WI

2. San Jose, CA

1. Fremont, CA

For 2023, Minneapolis came in at number 17 and Maidson at number 3!

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Happy young couple sitting in a cafe outside on a beautiful autumn day.

Let's see how those two cities fared this year.

2024's Happiest Cities in the Country

20. Bismark, ND (dropped from 12th in 2023)

19. Lincoln, NE (new to the list!)

18. Seattle, WA (dropped from 11th in 2023)

17. Portland, ME (new to the list!)

16. Fargo, ND (up from 20th in 2023)

15. San Diego, CA (same as 2023)

14. Garden Grove, CA (new to the list!)

13. Minneapolis, MN (up from 17th in 2023)

12. Huntington Beach, CA  (up from 14th in 2023)

11. Sioux Falls, SD (dropped from 8th in 2023)

10. Scottsdale, AZ (up from 16th in 2023)

9. Columbia, MD (dropped from 7th in 2023)

8. Pearl City, HI (new to the list!)

7. San Francisco, CA (dropped from 5th in 2023)

6. Honolulu, HI (new to the list!)

5. Irvine, CA (up from 6th in 2023)

4. Madison, WI (dropped from 3rd in 2023)

3. San Jose, CA (dropped from 2nd in 2023)

2. Overland Park, KS (up from 4th in 2023)

1. Fremont, CA (kept the number 1 spot from 2023!)

There are quite a few new cities added to the list this year. Also, Minneapolis hopped up 4 spots from last year, which is awesome! And Madison only dropped one spot, which is pretty good.

LOOK: Highest-rated Free Things to do in Minnesota, According to Tripadvisor

Stacker compiled a list of the highest rated free things to do in Minnesota from Tripadvisor.

Gallery Credit: Stacker