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Tags: age | happiness | study | contentment | older

Study: Older Folks Are Happier

Friday, 13 January 2012 03:31 PM EST

Maybe it’s time to retire the myth of the grump old man.
New research by the University of Chicago has found older Americans are happier than younger ones and a person’s level of contentment tends to increase with age.
Baby boomers are a relatively glum bunch compared to other generations, women are happier than men, and blacks are less content than whites, according to the study, “Social Inequalities in Happiness in the United States, 1972-2004,” published in the American Sociological Review.
“The age effects are strong and indicate increases in happiness over the life course,” said Yang Yang, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago and author of the article.
The research relied on questions about contentment with overall life gathered in the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, which the National Science Foundation supports at the University of Chicago.
Since 1972, surveyors have asked a cross section of Americans: “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 question was asked in face-to-face interviews of 1,500 to 3,000 people.
Among Yang’s findings:
* Among 18-year-olds, white women are the happiest, with a 33 percent probability of being very happy, followed by white men (28 percent), black women (18 percent) and black men (15 percent).
* Black men and black women have about a 50 percent chance of being very happy by their late 80s, while white men and white women are close behind.
* Maturity tends to build certain traits, such as self-integration and self-esteem.
* Happiness trends over the study’s 33-year period found increases when the nation flourished economically. For example, Yang found that 1995 was a good year on the happiness scale.

© HealthDay

Americans get happier as they get older.
Friday, 13 January 2012 03:31 PM
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