Rich are happier than poor

Philadelphia, August 15:

Physical health is the best single predictor of happiness, followed by income, education and marital status, states a study that concludes rich people are happier than the poor.

Sociological researcher Glenn Firebaugh of the Pennsylvania State University and graduate student Laura Tach from Harvard University measured the age, total family income and general happiness of 20-to-64-year-olds using analysis from the 1972-2002 General Social Survey, reports science portal eurekAlert. They checked for health, education, effects of getting older, race and marital status. Happiness was measured using a self-report response of ‘very happy’, ‘pretty happy’, or ‘not too happy’. The researchers found a relative income effect — the richer you are relative to your age peers, the happier you will tend to be. Firebaugh said, “We find with and without controls for age, physical health, education and other correlates of happiness that the higher the income of others in one’s age group, the lower one’s happiness. Families whose income earners are in jobs with flat income trajectories are likely to become less happy over time. Thus the relative income effect implies adverse effects.”