Wealthy Americans, seniors and Westerners report highest level of satisfaction with their lives, according to a Wall Street Journal poll.
This information may come as a surprise: wealthy people report they are happier than people who do not consider themselves wealthy.
A September study from Wall Street Journal/NBC showed that the happiest Americans are the wealthy, retired people, Westerners and Hispanics. The study asked 500 Americans to rate their lives on a 1-to-10 scale, with 10 being the most satisfied with their lives.
Overall, 50 percent of Americans rated their happiness at an 8 or higher. That was the highest number since the economic collapse; in 2007, before the recession, 61 percent rated themselves at an 8 or higher in the same poll.
Sixty-six percent of Americans making at least $75,000 a year or more rated their lives at an 8 level or higher. Among Americans making less than $30,000 per year, only 36 percent placed their lives at an 8 level or higher. Almost 40 percent of Americans who considered themselves “poor’’ rated their happiness level at a 3 or lower.
The survey asked about happiness among those who voted for President Barack Obama (56 percent said their lives were at an 8 or higher) or Mitt Romney (41 percent said they were at an 8 or higher).
Americans aged 65 and up had some of the highest results in the happiness pool, with 59 percent placing their lives at an 8 or higher. The lowest rating for age group was those who were 50 to 64 years of age.
Almost two-thirds of Americans with academic degrees beyond a Bachelors degree put their lives at an 8 or higher. Only 42 percent of Americans with a high school diploma or less put their lives at the level of 8 or higher.
Spectrem’s Millionaire Corner did a study on investor happiness, and found that just over three times as many people over 60 rated their happiness at 10 as those under 40 (16 percent vs. 5 percent). Eighty-three percent of investors over 60 rated their happiness at an 8 or higher. Seventy-one percent of Gen Xers and Millennial investors were at an 8 or higher.
Baby Boomer over the age of 50 put a higher premium on health as it relates to happiness, with 57 percent cited good health as the most important key to a happy life, with just under 40 percent of those under 50.
Boomers and seniors believe the secret to happiness includes being involved in a happy marriage or committed relationship. Thirty-nine percent of those over 60 said that was a factor to just 26 percent of those under the age of 40.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.