Older people and happiness

Older people and happiness

Older folk are happier

Monday, 21 April 2008


New research has found that older people tend to be the happiest people in a population, defying the stereotype of the grumpy old man or woman.

Wired reports that University of Chicago researchers interviewed almost 30,000 people of all ages across America between 1972 and 2004 in order to gauge their happiness.

They found that while overall levels of happiness varied according to the economic climate at the time and the particular circumstances of the person involved, overall older people tended to be the happiest segment of the population.

Of those surveyed 39% said they were very happy at age 88, well above the 24% who said they were very happy in their late teens and early 20s. Overall, for every 10 years of age, the number of very happy people increased by about 5%.

The researchers behind the project said the improved ability of older people to put things in perspective may be a key reason behind the finding.

“The good news is that with age comes happiness,” University of Chicago sociologist Yang Yang said. “Life gets better in one’s perception as one ages.”