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AARP: Older Americans Report Higher Happiness

Compared with historic levels, today’s adults are struggling on the happiness scale. While most Americans ages 35 and older are “happy” according to a recent study conducted by AARP, compared to historical General Social Survey data, happiness is on the decline. The overall happiness level of adults over time takes a U-shaped path with higher levels around the 30s and 60s-plus age brackets and a low point in the 50s. 

“We’re always looking to get a more robust understanding of the contributors and barriers to happiness in people’s lives,” said Steve Cone, Executive Vice President of Integrated ValueStrategy, AARP. “Building on previous AARP research, which shows the importance of happiness and peace of mind to 50+ families, these new results affirm that we are on the right track—advocating to ensure basic health and financial security and making available everyday discounts that let people enjoy time with family and friends.”  

In terms of happiness drivers, family came first, AARP found, with people reporting happiness based on spending time with children, grandchildren and other loved ones. Health also ranked high on the list of happiness factors. 


The older end of the age spectrum showed much higher happiness levels than the middle ages, with 24% of people ages 66-70 reporting they are “very happy,” 23% for 71-75-year olds and 22% for the age 76-80 population. 

View the report

Written by Elizabeth Ecker