Americans grow happier as they grow older, according to a University of Chicago study that is one of the most thorough examinations of happiness ever done in America.
The study also found that baby boomers are not as content as other generations, African Americans are less happy than whites, men are less happy than women, happiness can rise and fall between eras, and that, with age the differences narrow.
“Understanding happiness is important to understanding quality of life. The happiness measure is a guide to how well society is meeting people’s needs,” said Yang Yang, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and author of the new article.
The research relies on data that social scientists consider the gold standard of happiness research–responses to 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.
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