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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Happiness

Happiness

Marital Bliss:

Married people (43% very happy) are a good bit happier than unmarrieds (24%) and this has been a consistent finding over the years. It holds up for men as well as for women, and for the old as well as the young, though the marriage gap in happiness is not quite as great among the old. Overall, parents are happier than adults who have no children, but this gap disappears once a person’s marital status is considered. That is, married people with children are about as happy as married people without children. And unmarried people with children are about as happy as unmarried people without children.

I’m going to just say right now that there is probably some glaring variable they neglected to take into consideration: married people lying to themselves, and then to Pew. They want nothing more than for everyone to believe that they are happy in their cages.

The whole article reads like propaganda, though. This sort of thing can put one into diabetic shock if one isn’t careful.

The happiest people are Republicans who make $100k+/year, have kids and go to church regularly. The American Dream prevails and Norman Rockwell can stop spinning in his grave: we’ve returned to an enlightened period of Americanism. Not really:

How do all these factors play out together? Well, it can get complicated. Sometimes the correlations tend to reinforce one another. For example, healthy people tend to have more income, and both these traits independently correlate with happiness. But sometimes the correlations are not in sync. Frequent church-goers, for example, on average have less income than infrequent church-goers – so their religious profile pushes them up the happiness scale while their financial profile pushes them down. Which factor is more powerful? And is being a Republican really a predictor of happiness, independent of all other factors?

One way to find out is by way of a statistical technique known as multiple regression analysis, which gauges the relationship between each factor and happiness while controlling for all the other factors. That analysis shows that the most robust correlations of all those described in this report are health, income, church attendance, being married and, yes, being a Republican. Indeed, being a Republican is associated not only with happiness, it is also associated with every other trait in this cluster. Even so, the factor that makes the most difference in predicting happiness is neither being a Republican nor being wealthy – it’s being in good health.

The same regression analysis also finds that education, gender, and race do not have a statistically significant independent effect on predicting happiness, once all the other factors are controlled.

Keep in mind, however, that even taking into account all these factors, we don’t actually improve by very much our ability to predict which specific individual is likely to be very happy. If we knew who’d been fired last week, or who’s a glass-is-always-half-full kind of person, we’d probably do a lot better.

Conclusion? Statistics are fun.

Best Fark.com comment about it:

The problem with people, is that we carry around two almost conflicting ideas.

We are afraid to be alone, and desire to live in community. This explains why 90%+ of people get married in their lifetime.

We are also selfish, which makes living in compromise tough. This explains why a good 40% of those end in divorce.

I think one reason is the stakes appear to be lower. Back in the day, the consequence of picking the right/wrong spouse was one of life or death.

If you picked some dizzy blonde with big tits and a great ass with no skills, you’d pay for it. She’d not prepare food properly, not dress an injury, be unprepared to handle 100 situations a modern female cannot handle today.

If you picked a slack ass male with no skills, you’d perish the first winter.

Now, I can screw cute girl after cute girl with no consequence. I can always get medical attention, hot food, decent conversation, and sex.

It allows all of us to live in a perpetual state of adolescence. We shift all the burden for bad mate choices on society. Octo-mom, welfare queens, absentee fathers, etc.

Also, our modern community does a much worse job of fixing those issues as well. 200 years ago, if a husband or wife wasn’t doing their part, the community would let them know, and even take corrective action. At that point communities were small enough that even person mattered and needed to contribute.

Now we tax and spend to try and fix community problems.

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