Happy old fogies

July 15, 2008

For the “youth is wasted on the young” file:

In recent months, however, several studies have produced a stream of evidence that mostly points in the same direction, and also happens to overturn one of the most stubborn American stereotypes: the belief that this is a land whose gifts, charms and joys flow mostly to young people.

The studies show that when you check on how happy people are at various ages, the elderly generally come out ahead.

Since 1972, researchers have conducted 50,000 detailed interviews with Americans. The questions of the General Social Survey are repeated year after year to enable researchers to detect trends and to make comparisons among groups and to see how the same people changed over time. One asks whether they are very happy, pretty happy or not too happy.

“One important finding was people who were biologically older are happier than younger adults,” said Tom W. Smith of the University of Chicago, who is the director of the General Social Survey.

Maybe happiness has to be learned. We spend most of our lives figuring out what makes us happy, then finally decide to do more of that and less of the stuff we just thought was important in our younger days.


2 Responses to “Happy old fogies”

  1. Harl Delos Says:

    A group from the University of Chicago, including Tom W. Smith, were the authors of the “Sex in America” survey that was a top seller a few years ago.

    If you haven’t read that book, I recommend it. It has some rather interesting conclusions in it. Mostly it was about who people formed relations with.

    At the time, everyone was expecting heterosexual AIDS to break out, and their book said, no, it wasn’t going to happen here. Turns out they were right.

  2. Bob G. Says:

    Carlin would have been happy with your conclusion…lol!


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