Don’t worry if 16 is a distant memory, though, as our well-being reaches a high point again later in life. Research conducted by the U.K.-based Resolution Foundation found that happiness levels remain relatively constant after 16, until they fall between the mid-20s and early 50s. They then rise again, peaking in the 70s.
The report also looked at the impact of various economic factors on happiness. Unsurprisingly, home ownership (as opposed to renting), higher income, being employed and good health correlate with greater contentment.
“Well-being matters to all of us, and yet we’ve only recently started to collect serious data on how happy people are with their lives,” said George Bangham, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation. “This important data shows that there is more to life than a country’s GDP, but that the employment and income trends that lie behind our economy can make a big difference to our well-being too.”
A 2013 study of German adults also looked into the connection between age and happiness, with slightly different results. The researchers found life satisfaction peaks first at age 23 and again at 69.
While such studies indicate that age is no barrier to happiness, a new book featuring older couples shows you can also find romance at any age. Photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s latest title, Advanced Love, published in December, celebrates 40 older couples around the world.
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