The Age At Which People Are Happiest With Their Lives

Posted on December 8, 2017

Photo: pexels

A study that was published in the journal, American Sociological Review, carried out over the span of 30+ years reveal the age at which people are the happiest in their lives. Research found that people generally get happier as they get older.

A survey of Americans that was carried out between the years 1972 and 2004 show that older people are happiest in the nation. Across the different generations, about 50% of the people aged 80 and above said that they were 'very happy'. A potential reason for this could be due to the fact that older people are more mature, and they could more likely be at greater ease with themselves and have a higher self-esteem.

The study's author, Dr. Yang Yang, asserts that the understanding of happiness is crucial to understanding quality of life, and that "the happiness measure is a guide to how well society is meeting people's needs". For the series of surveys, a representative cross-section of Americans was asked the following question:
"Taken all together, how would you say things are these days - would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?"

The response to the question gained some interesting feedback. It was found that the so-called 'baby boomer' generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, were less happy than other equivalent generations. Dr. Yang suggests that it could probably be due to the fact that "the generation as a group was so large, and their expectations were so great, that not everyone in the group could get what he or she wanted as they aged due to competition for opportunities", leading to a lot of disappointment that could undermine happiness.

Apart from this, the study also found that African Americans on average, were less happy than whites. Among 18 year old's, only 15% of black teens said that they were very happy, in comparison to 33% of white women. In fact, women were found to be more happy than men overall - across racial and class divides. Over the years, having a significant other and staying in good health also makes an individual much more happy, needless to say. One last surprising take away from this study was that, having no children increased the chances of being happy over the lifetime, among the respondents.

This study can be found here.


Category(s):Happiness, Other

Source material from PsyBlog


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