WARNING: The following discussion is about the correlation between happiness and many other factors. But it’s just correlation. The factors below are correlated with happiness, but that does not mean they CAUSE happiness. “Correlation does not imply causation”.
Now that I’ve posted the warning, I can talk about some of the interesting correlations between happiness and other things. Such as:
- Extroverts are happier than introverts.
- Optimists are happier than pessimists
- Married people are happier than single people
- People who attend religious services regularly are happier than people who do not
- People who have a college degree are happier than people who do not have a college degree BUT
- People with advanced degrees are LESS happy than people with just a bachelor’s degree
- People who have sex are happier than people who don’t have sex
- People who are busy are happier than people who say they have too little to do
- People are happier the older they get
- The more someone commutes the LESS happy they are — in fact commuting is one of the largest sources of stress and unhappiness there is. The length of the commute is directly connected to happiness. The more minutes of commuting = more unhappiness.
- People are happier when they feel they can predict what is happening — hence the chart above that shows that when the Dow Jones dropped unexpectedly, happiness dropped, but when people realized that it was going to be a bumpy ride then it stopped affecting their happiness
- People are happier when they live in close proximity to happy people (not just in your house, but including the neighborhood).
I have a Ph.D., but I work out of my house. Maybe the two cancel each other out?
What do you think about these correlations?
Here’s the references:
Eric Weiner, The Geography of Bliss, Twelve, 2008.
Fowler, J. H.; Christakis, N. A (3 January 2009). “Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network: Longitudinal Analysis Over 20 Years in the Framingham Heart Study” (PDF). British Medical Journal 337 (768): a2338. doi:10.1136/bmj.a2338. PMC 2600606. PMID 19056788.
Graham, Carol, Soumya Chattopadhyay, and Mario Picon (2010), “Does the Dow Get You Down? Happiness and the U.S. Economic Crisis”, mimeo, The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, January.