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At What Age Are We the Happiest?

Although it is one of the simplest emotions, happiness can be hard to explain. Who is happiest? And what IS it that makes us happy?

The Harris Poll set out to answer these and other questions with its periodic Harris Happiness Index, an online survey of 2,345 U.S. adults.

In our youth-obsessed American culture, it is fascinating to see that the happiest people in the United States are older. Among those ages 50 to 64, 36 percent say they are very happy, along with a whopping 41 percent of those 65 and older who say the same thing. Retirement must be sweet!

Among younger Americans, just three in 10 say they are very happy. The least happy age group is the 30s with only 28 percent defining their lives as very happy.

Who else is happy?

  • In 2013, 33 percent of Americans say they are very happy, which is the same percentage that said the same thing in 2011.

  • Among women, 35 percent say they are very happy, compared with the 32 percent of men who say the same thing.

  • By racial group, 34 percent of white Americans are very happy, 36 percent of African Americans are very happy and just 28 percent of Hispanics are very happy.

  • Who says money can't buy happiness? The higher the income, the greater the percentage of people who say they are very happy. Fully 38 percent of those earning $100,000 a year or more say they are very happy, compared with only 29 percent of those earning $34,999 or less.

  • When it comes to education as a factor for happiness, 32 percent of those who attended some college or graduated from college say they are very happy, compared with 34 percent with a high school education and 38 percent for those who completed post-graduate work.

What makes us happy?
People find the most happiness in their relationships with family and friends, as well as their spiritual beliefs, optimism about the future and hobbies and pastimes they enjoy.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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