The age at which people are least happy with their lives

Posted on November 10, 2014

The dip in life satisfaction occurs around the age of 45 until 54, and is seen across many wealthy English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, the UK and Australia. There were similar findings in these countries for the emotional aspects of happiness.

This finding is almost expected. This is the period at which wage rates typically peak and is the best time to work and earn the most, even at the expense of present well-being, so as to have increased wealth and well-being later in life.

Economic theory can predict a dip in well-being among the middle age in high-income, English-speaking countries. What is interesting is that this pattern is not universal. Other regions, like the former Soviet Union, have been affected by the collapse of communism and other systems. Such events have affected the elderly who have lost a system that, however imperfect, gave meaning to their lives, and, in some cases, their pensions and health care.

When the researchers looked at happiness and mortality, the key to a long life appeared to be a sense of purpose. When older people feel their life has purpose, their chance of dying was dramatically reduced.

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Source material from PSY Blog