The Surprising Age When People Are Happiest

by Barbara Hadden

Three generations fizkes / Shutterstock.com

When are you happiest in life?

We all have our ideas. Perhaps it is during the full bloom of youth or when we are raising our children. Or maybe happiness comes at last in our golden years.

Recently, AARP teamed up with National Geographic Partners and asked more than 2,500 adults to put themselves in one of two camps:

  • Very happy
  • Not too happy

It then divided the respondents into age groups to determine the time of life when people are most likely to be happy.

Following is what they discovered.

Before age 50

Happy man soaking in the sun at the pool outside his house mimagephotography / Shutterstock.com

People younger than 40 who say they are “very happy”: 20%

People 40-49 who say they are “very happy”: 16%

Surprisingly, this is the time of life when people are most miserable. Less than one-quarter of those in each of these two age groups said they are very happy.

Meanwhile, 20% in each of these age groups characterized themselves as “not too happy,” the highest percentage recorded in the survey.

50s and 60s

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People 50-59 who say they are “very happy”: 18%

People 60-69 who say they are “very happy”: 21%

Things improve during these decades, but only marginally. The share of respondents who said they are happy ticks up a bit, and the percentage who said they are “not too happy” drops for both those in the 50-59 age bracket (14%) and the 60-69 age bracket (19%).

Age 70 and beyond

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People 70-79 who say they are “very happy”: 27%

People 80-plus who say they are “very happy”: 34%

Life continues to get happier as you get older. Among those who are between the ages of 70 and 79, a robust 27% said they are very happy.

Meanwhile, 34% of those who are 80 or older said they are very happy. That makes them the happiest group in the survey.

In fact, the percentage who said they are very happy is more than double that of people who are between the ages of 40 and 49.

In each of these two groups of seniors, just 10% said they are “not too happy.”

How happy are you?

Happy people of many generations NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock.com

Knowing that you are likely to get happier as you get older has to make you feel hopeful. But there is no need to wait until your senior years to feel more joy.

Instead, develop a lifestyle that will make life better at any age by cultivating the “9 Habits Happy People Use to Make Life Better.”

Also, prepare for your golden years by reading “Seniors Say These 4 Things Make for a Happy Retirement.”

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