With Age Comes Wisdom — and Happiness

Americans grow happier as they grow older, according to a University of Chicago study that is one of the most thorough examinations of happiness ever done in America.

The study also found that baby boomers are not as content as other generations, men are less happy than women, happiness can rise and fall between eras, and that, with age the differences narrow.

“Understanding happiness is important to understanding quality of life. The happiness measure is a guide to how well society is meeting people’s needs,” said Yang Yang, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and author of the article, “Social Inequalities in Happiness in the United States, 1972-2004: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis,” published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review, the official journal of the American Sociological Association.

The research relies on data that social scientists consider the gold standard of happiness research—responses to questions about contentment with overall life gathered in the General Social Survey of the National Opinion Research Center, which the National Science Foundation supports at the University of Chicago.

In another study in the same issue of the journal, University of Chicago researchers reported that, contrary to popular thought, older people do stay social as they age, often volunteering, attending religious services, and spending time with their neighbors.

Did they tell Rutland residents anything new???? (You can read more from this article through the University of Chicago.)

May is Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month LogoThe United States is nearing the start of a tremendous demographic shift. Beginning in 2011, the first of 78 million baby boomers (people born between 1946 and 1964) will start transitioning into retirement, kicking off an expansion in the number of elderly people that will continue for decades. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of every nine baby boomers will live to be at least age 90.

According to the Administration on Aging, our Nation will benefit in many ways from a larger population of older adults, a group that constitutes one of our greatest resources. Older adults support our society by providing millions of hours of volunteer, community, and civic service through formal organizations and a variety of informal arrangements. They enhance our communities and personal lives by sharing and transferring knowledge of cultures, values, and life experiences among generations. Thankfully, the contributions of older adults will continue to flourish in the coming years, since older citizens of today and tomorrow promise to be among the most active and engaged older adult populations in our Nation’s history.

This information is not new to Rutland as it is the “older adults” that are active and helping to revitalize our town to make it viable for future generations.