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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 Poll Happiness Index, an online survey of 2,215 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 42 percent of those 65 and older who say the same thing. Retirement must be sweet!

Among younger Americans from 18 to 49 years old, about 31 percent say they are very happy.

Who else is happy?

  • In 2015, 34 percent of Americans say they are very happy, which is about the same percentage that said the same thing in 2011 and in 2013.

  • Among women, 36 percent say they are very happy, compared with the 33 percent of men who say the same thing.

  • People of faith tend to be happier than those who are not religiously engaged. Specifically, 42 percent of those who attend religious services weekly or more say they are happy, compared with the 30 percent who never attend who say they are 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 30 percent of those earning $34,999 or less.

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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