Money buys even more happiness you would like to believe

They say that money can’t buy happiness. Don’t be so sure. Several studies confirm that the more your income increases, the happier you are. At least until US$75,000 a year…In fact, a new study of more than 40,000 U.S. adults aged 30 and over, spanning five decades, from 1972 to 2016, finds an even deeper relationship between socioeconomic status (money, in particular) and happiness.

Figure 1: Happiness by SES quintile based on income, log-transformed income, highest educational degree, and occupational prestige, American adults ages 30 and over, 1972-2016

This is noticeable:

Among white Americans in the 1970s, adults with and without a college degree were equally likely to say they were “very happy” – around 40%. But by the 2010s, there was an education gap in happiness: Only 29% of those without a degree said they were very happy, compared with 40% of those with a degree. The same was true for income: The difference in happiness by income level grew steadily larger from the 1970s to the 2010s.

Happiness levels decline for whites without a college degree. Source: The Conversation, CC-BY-ND Get the data

Between the early 1970s and the mid-2010s, socioeconomic status (SES) indicators such as income, education, and occupational prestige became stronger predictors of happiness among American adults over age 30. The happiness of low-SES White adults declined between 1972 and 2016 while the happiness of high-SES White adults stayed steady or declined less steeply; the happiness of low-SES Black adults generally stayed steady, while the happiness of high-SES Black adults generally increased. The result is a growing class divide in happiness, with the happiness advantage of high-SES individuals growing steadily larger over the decades.

Twenge, J.M., and Cooper, A.B. (2020). The expanding class divide in happiness in the United States, 1972–2016. Emotion.

Yes, it seems money buys even more happiness you would like to believe. Or well, maybe that’s the case only in the U.S. 😉


Featured Image: Jeff Bezos LoL, Getty Images, Via The Blast

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