Money Now Gives More Happiness Than Before!

By  | 

Many factors define happiness. But there is one thing that has been causing great controversy for years, money.

While that adage says that money cannot buy happiness, some studies have observed that as your annual earnings increase, so does your happiness. When it comes to $ 75,000 per year, it is determined that extra income does not cause a change.

Studies conducted on around 40,000 American citizens aged 30 and over have found a much deeper relationship between money and happiness.

Since the survey data has been spread over about fifty years from 1972 to 2016, it is possible to compare whether the relationship between money and happiness has also changed over the years.

This is where things start to get weird. Because today, the money-happiness relationship seems much stronger than in the past. It seems that the happiness of money buys more (!) Compared to the past.

A Striking Class Division

Happiness was analyzed according to classes, especially based on income and education. In the 1970s, among white Americans, those with and without university education equally stated that they were “very happy” with a rate of 40%.

However, in the 2010s, happily, education started to continue in parallel, if only 29% of those without a diploma stated that they are “very happy”. The same is true for income, from the ’70s to 2010, the change in happiness has constantly increased.

Happiness Level Falls In White Without Diploma

The percentage of people who say “I am very happy” in the white segment with diplomas aged 30 and over decreased to 29%.

While the happiness rate of graduated black Americans rose from the 1970s to the 2010s, those without diplomas remained stable. In other words, the unhappiness caused by low income in the 1970s increased even more in the 2010s.

Moreover, unlike previous studies, no satiety or extreme happiness was observed at higher income levels.

Less But Not-Self!

There are many reasons for this trend. One is that the income gap has grown: The rich get rich, the poor get poor.

Currently, the CEO of an average company makes 271 times more profit than a normal worker; this number is 30 times higher than in 1978. While it was possible to buy a house and support a family with a high school diploma back then, this is much more difficult now.

In a society where income inequalities are much greater, middle-class families have little property and the gap between wealth and poverty is evident, partly because the cost of many key needs such as housing, education, and health outstrips inflation, and even if workers become more productive, salaries are the same. remain.

Marriage rates also have a share in this trend. While marriage rates did not change much depending on the class in the 1970s, now the probability of getting married is higher for those who have a high income and a diploma compared to those who do not.

When the averages are compared, married couples are happier than singles. When marriage rates were controlled for, the tendency to happiness decreased relative to class divisions.

What about the Future?

In 2015, an article found that the mortality rate of white Americans without a university degree increased. Many of these deaths, including suicide and drug overdose, are what researchers call “deaths of despair.”

It is known that, in the Covid-19 pandemic, the class division escalated when Americans, whose income was already low, lost their jobs. Taking all this into consideration, the physical and mental health and class divide among Americans has also been seen to grow.

Over time, politicians are beginning to grasp the idea of ​​’universal basic income’ where all citizens receive a certain amount of money from the government each month. In the 2020 Democratic presidency principles, Andrew Yang is gaining some popularity, partly through his support for universal basic income, as a result, more mayors now and across the country are experimenting with guaranteed income.

As a general rule, sharp divisions according to classes hurt the welfare of society. One study found that people living in countries with more income inequality are less happy.

In an already deeply polarized country, these growing class divisions are likely to make matters worse. As the 2020 elections are approaching, political campaigns should also pay more attention to the consequences of these sharp class divisions.

The happiness and well-being of the country are at stake.

Jean Twenge, Professor of Psychology, San Diego State University.