New Study Reveals Happiest Ages In Life: 23 And 69


A study done by Hannes Schwandt at the Center for Economic Performance in London claims the happiest you will be in life is at ages 23 and 69. So if you’re 24 or 70, sorry, but it’s over. Hannes sought to explore the underlying mechanics of the “U” shape theory corresponding to age and human well being. It’s pretty simple: People are happy early on in life, hit a slump in their fifties and then become happy again later on. The trend has been reported across 50 nations and among varying socio-economic groups.

Hannes wanted to figure out why this was happening so he collected data from the German Socio-Economic Panel which consisted of 23,161 individuals between the ages of 17 and 85 during the years of 1991-2002. He chose this specific survey because it allowed people to predict happiness 5 years into the future as well as their present level of content.

What he found was interesting. He claims the U-shape phenomena is a result of mismatched expectations. Hanne’s says, “Young people expect a bright future though actual well being decreases. In old age expectations are adjusted downwards though actual well being is rising.” What he’s basically saying is the only reason you’re so happy at 23 is because you believe your own bullshit. The world kicks your crotch for the next several decades until you’re 50’s, where you never expect anything good to happen ever again. After you get over your midlife crisis life slowly starts improving and by then any minor joys are magnified by your total lack of expectations. Or, like Hannes says, “Our unmet aspirations painfully felt during our 50’s are abandoned.” This guy seems like he’d be fun to get a beer with, no?

Hannes claims his message is a positive one saying,”People in their fifties could learn from the elderly, who generally feel less regret. They should try not to be frustrated by their unmet expectations because they are probably not feeling much worse than their peers.” So take solace in the fact that your neighbor’s feeling shitty too. Wise words.

I may be a washed up 27 year old has been, but listen up: Be careful how much you buy into “happiness” studies. Emotional states are too abstract to be plugged into graphs and 1’s and 0’s. It’s like trying to wrap water up in tin foil. It just doesn’t work. (nor is it microwave safe) So, if you’re 24, 46, or 72 don’t worry—just keep on doing what you’re doing and remember: Statistics are only for the average.