An article by Ramesh Ponnuru, social scientist and visiting fellow of the American Enterprise Institute is revealing some interesting facts about happiness; citing research by the Institute’s president, Arthur Brooks he says the following:
- Global happiness is on the rise. Poverty greatly reduces our happiness quotient — however, since global poverty has been decreasing over the last few decades, Planet Earth is a happier place.
- Lots of money doesn’t mean greater happiness. While this may seem contradictory to what I just said about poverty, it’s not, according to Ponnuru. That’s because although poverty does put a damper on personal happiness, once basic needs are met, satisfying work is a greater determinant of positive emotions.
- Those who experience personal tragedies return to their “normal” level of happiness after several months
- Women in the US have traditionally been happier than men. This is good news.
- Not-so-good-news: women are still happier than men — however, happiness among women is falling. Although Ponnuru asserts that scholars don’t know exactly why that’s happening, I can venture a guess, since I’m a woman. Study after study has shown that even though more and more women are working outside the home, they’re still doing the VAST majority of the housework. My guess is that women aren’t less happy, they’re simply exhausted. This coincides with research that shows women in their forties (when they are in the throes of child rearing) are more likely to be depressed than women in other age groups.
- Men are unhappiest at age 45. As a 52 year old, let me assure both men and women: there IS life after your forties.
- Conservative men and women are happier than those who are left of center
- Married people are happier than singles
- Religious and spiritual men and women are more likely to be happy than those who are not