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Aging Well

Good News About Aging! Older People Are More Likely to Be Happy Than Younger People Are

The poet Robert Browning wrote, “Grow old along with me/The best is yet to be”. Data from a study done by CivicScience shows that he was right. The market research firm followed happiness from 2013 to 2015. Over that time, 166,310 Americans answered the CivicScience poll question – “How happy are you today?—Very Happy, Happy, Unhappy, Very Unhappy, or So-So.”

The results showed that beginning with 30 to 34 year-olds, every age group gets progressively happier, peaking among those aged 65 and older, who are 14 times as likely to be happy than unhappy (67% vs. 5%). Among those under age 18, 13% are unhappy compared to 9% of the total general population.

The perks of youth apparently don’t guarantee happiness. More happy people than unhappy people are over the age of 45 (52% happy vs. 37% unhappy). Unhappy people are more likely to be under age 30.

And while career is a major indicator of happiness, people who report being happy are also more likely to be retired. Here are the key findings from the study:

  • Happiness in one’s job is one of the strongest correlations with overall happiness.
  • Happiness increases with age.
  • Higher income traits are closely associated with greater happiness.
  • “Morning people” are much more likely to be happy than unhappy.
  • Being unhealthy most strongly correlates with unhappiness.

So rejoice when you put another candle on your birthday cake. Celebrate the fact that, as Browning wrote, “The last of life, for which the first was made/A whole I planned, youth shows but half/See all, nor be afraid!”

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