The socio political demography of happiness
No 331, Working Papers from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, George J. Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State
Since 1972 the General Social Survey (GSS) has asked a representative sample of US adults "[are] you very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?" Overall, the population is reasonably happy even after a mild recent decline. I focus on differences along standard socio demographic dimensions: age, race, gender, education, marital status income and geography. I also explore political and social differences. Being married is the most important differentiator with a 30-percentage point happy-unhappy gap over the unmarried. Income is also important, but Easterlin's (1974) paradox applies: the rich are much happier than the poor at any moment, but income growth doesn't matter. Education and racial differences are also consequential, though the black-white gap has narrowed substantially. Geographic, gender and age differences have been relatively unimportant, though old-age unhappiness may be emerging. Conservatives are distinctly happier than liberals as are people who trust others or the Federal government. All above differences survive control for other differences.
Keywords: happiness; demographics; family; Easterlin paradox; education; income; social capital; political ideology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 D60 E01 I31 J10 J12 J18 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age, nep-hap, nep-ltv and nep-soc
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:cbscwp:331
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