Even in very challenging times, three out of ten Americans say they are “very happy,” one in ten say "not too happy," and the rest describe themselves as "pretty happy." Pretty good. The Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index tracks the state of life satisfaction through daily changes by surveying about 1,000 every single day to find out about their sense of happiness and well-being.
People over 50
The years past life's midpoint really do appear to be golden. Princeton University researchers partnered with the Gallup polling organization to assess the emotional well-being of 340,847 Americans, ages 18 to 85. Those 50 and over were in their prime happiness years. They reported increasing emotional well-being from ages 50-75, and decreasing worry.
Researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research found that both men and women who are above average height are happier. For men, that's 5'10” or more, and for women, 5'4” or more. Male respondents who rated their lives the "worst possible" were nearly an inch shorter than the average man. The women at the lowest end of the happiness scale were half an inch smaller, on average, than the average woman.
Multiple studies in the past 5 years have shown American men reporting higher subjective well-being (happiness) than women, a reversal of the state of affairs in 1972 when women reported greater life satisfaction than men. Researchers theorize that women, in gaining more status in the workplace also retain more responsibility caring for children and even their parents, and the stress of all of that responsibility could be affecting their perceived quality of life. Time-use studies now show that men spend more time relaxing and less time working than they used to.
People in Hawaii and Denmark
Surprise, surprise. Residents in the island paradise reported higher happiness ratings than folks in any other state. The Gallup-Healthways study shows that 56.2% of Hawaii's population has “thriving” well-being, meaning the highest ratings in career, physical, social, community and financial well-being. In Denmark, a whopping 82% of the population has thriving well-being.