Monday, November 9, 2015

Some Sobering Stats and Studies on Mortality and Happiness for Americans Over Age 30

Americans are struggling to enjoy life these days. That's sobering, to say the least.

But facts are facts, so let's take a closer look as what two current studies have to say about what's happening to far too many young Americans in their 30s and 40s.

In Heartland of Darkness, a simple charts reveals a mystery:
"This new paper by Angus Deaton and Anne Case on mortality among middle-aged whites has been getting a lot of attention, and rightly so. . . . What the data look like is a society gripped by despair, with a surge of unhealthy behaviors and an epidemic of drugs, very much including alcohol.
This picture goes along with declining labor force participation and other indicators of social unraveling. Something terrible is happening to white American society. And it’s a uniquely American phenomenon."

Now consider what Americans over 30 are more miserable than they've ever been has to say about today's 'misery' index:

"It all goes downhill after 30 — at least when it comes to happiness.

“Adults over 30 are less happy than their predecessors,” concludes a study published online Thursday in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, which examined happiness data from more than 50,000 adults . . . which has collected information about American adults since 1972. . . .

What’s perhaps even more interesting is that, for the first time ever, adults ages 18 to 29 were happier than adults over 30. “The happiness advantage of mature adults over adolescents has dwindled,” write the authors of the study, entitled “More Happiness for Young People and Less for Mature Adults: Time Period Differences in Subjective Well-Being in the United States, 1972 - 2014.”
While the authors don’t know for sure why younger adults are happier than older ones for the first time in at least 40 years, they do have some theories. First, rising inequality may have more of an impact on the well-being of older adults than on younger ones, who are more apt to think they can overcome such things given that they have more time. And older adults may be more disappointed by the “increasingly unrealistic expectations for educational attainment, jobs, material goods and relationships,” the authors write, while younger adults still have hope for these things.

That said, there are plenty of studies that show we get happier as we get older (including a study published in 2011 in the journal Psychology and Aging, which revealed that “emotional experience improves with age”).
In general, women are slightly happier than men, the authors found — a finding that’s backed up by other research, including a worldwide survey by Gallup, which found that 40% of women were very happy, compared with only 34% of men. Researchers aren’t quite sure why this is, but the differences between the genders in terms of happiness tend to be fairly small."
Summing Up

I'm not sure what to think or say about these survey findings, so I won't try to explain what I don't know much about.

I simply wanted to share the news, bad as it is.

If you don't want to take the time to read the entire survey linked above, a good summary is contained in Rising Death Rate Belies Robust Economy, High Stocks.

It's a real head scratcher, and a really serious one too.

Thanks. Bob.

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