According to a new study by researchers at San Diego State University, and published in the journal Emotion , there is a correlation between happiness and leading indicators of socioeconomic status, including income and education .
And this correlation has steadily strengthened.
Using data from the General Social Survey, one of the longest-running adult surveys in the United States, SDSU psychologist Jean Twenge and his Lynn University co-author A. Bell Cooper explored data on 44,198 American adults from 1972 to 2016.
The results show that, on average, the more income someone makes, the happier they are. This differs from previous studies that found happiness stabilized after achieving an annual income of approximately $ 75,000 .
Twenge’s research also found that happiness is more strongly related to income now than it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Twenge concludes that money can actually buy more happiness now than in the past .
We are facing a correlation, not a cause-effect link; and we are also facing data from a survey, with all the methodological limitations that this entails.
Another possible explanation could be related to marriage . While marriage rates were once similar between the lowest and highest-income Americans, lower-income Americans are now less likely to get married and, according to the data, married people are happier on average.