Monday, February 13, 2006

Happiness in America

Just today the PEW Project has released the report "Are we happy yet?".

There are some "curious" findings:
1. Married folks are happier than unmarrieds.
2. People who worship frequently are happier than those who don't.
3. Republicans are happier than Democrats.
4. Rich people are happier than poor people.
5. Whites and Hispanics are happier than blacks.
6. Sunbelt residents are happier than those who live in the rest of the country.

While it's understandable that married people are happier than unmarried (because it could mean they get more support and partnership), that people that worship frequently are happier than those who don't (denoting more hope in the former), that rich people are happier than poor (because the former have the resource to self-actualize more often), and that sunbelt residents are happier than others (because of cultural and biological reasons.. don't forget Swedish people are sadder than Moroccans, and that's because of how the light impact on our mood), two things puzzled me. Namely, that Hispanics are happier than blacks (they BOTH are discriminated!) and that Republicans are happier than Democrats (the latter are more idealistic, shouldn't they be happier??).

Equally interesting are the non-correlations:
1. People who have children are no happier than those who don't, after controlling for marital status.
2. Retirees are no happier than workers.
3. Pet owners are no happier than those without pets.

These findings debunk long-lived myths, as the ones that propose parenthood as a panacea for all evils, retirement as the solution to a stressful life and pets as source of happiness.

Did we really need a study to tell us these were false myths? ;)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How to measure happiness? It will change time to time infact it relative to individuals! But it is interesting to look at the survey blacks are the most unhappy race among others? if the person interview the wealthy blacks probably you may find all the blacks are happy! so its depends on your subjects you pick!

6:03 pm  

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