Money Can Buy Happiness… So It Seems
Recent research shows a distinct class divide when it comes to happiness. In a nationally representative General Social Survey of more than 44,000 people, there is a positive correlation between socioeconomic status (SES) and happiness.
Generally, this means that the more income, education and occupational prestige Americans have, the happier they are. This connection has grown steadily stronger between the 1970s and the 2010s.
Between 1972 and 2016, higher-SES white individuals reported fairly stable happiness levels. However, lower-SES white respondents reported steadily declining happiness. Among Black adults, lower-SES happiness was fairly steady between 1972 and 2016, while those with higher social and economic status had increasing levels of happiness.
So, can money buy happiness? This study indicates that it at least helps. Confidence in knowing your money will last may contribute to the stable happiness levels, as well as overall health. Other research has shown that lower SES individuals are more likely to report health problems, including accelerated aging.
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Last updated: Aug. 23, 2021