"Would you say you’re very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy these days?"
That's the magic question a group of researchers asked approximately 1.3 million Americans in surveys compiled between 1972 to 2014. This study was meant to find out how generational happiness compares in recent years to that of the past.
While past studies have shown people become happier as they grow older, the new research shows that's no longer true. The team, led by Jean M. Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University and author of Generation Me, found adults over the age of 30 aren't as happy as they used to be. Teens and young adults, on the other hand, are happier than ever.
Back in the 70s, 38 percent of adults over 30 reported being "very happy." In recent years, that number shrunk to 32 percent. Teen happiness actually increased by four percent and young adult happiness increased by two percent.
The researchers hypothesize this could have to do with today's culture. "Our current culture of pervasive technology, attention-seeking, and fleeting relationships is exciting and stimulating for teens and young adults, but may not provide the stability and sense of community that mature adults require," Twenge writes in a press release.
Another reason could be our own expectations.
"American culture has increasingly emphasized high expectations and following your dreams — things that feel good when you're young," Twenge writes. "However, the average mature adult has realized that their dreams might not be fulfilled, and less happiness is the inevitable result. Mature adults in previous eras might not have expected so much, but expectations are now so high they can't be met."
Now, that's some food for thought.
(H/T: Elite Daily)