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Marriage, Money and Happiness By Ted Goertzel Rutgers University, Camden NJ Spring, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Marriage, Money and Happiness By Ted Goertzel Rutgers University, Camden NJ Spring, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marriage, Money and Happiness By Ted Goertzel Rutgers University, Camden NJ Spring, 2004

2 My Research Questions Are married people happier than single people? Does this relationship hold up if I control for age and income?

3

4 Data Source The data are from the 1998 General Social Survey of the United States Population N = 2832

5 Dependent Variable HAPPY? Taken all together, how would you say things are these days? Would you say that you are very happy, pretty happy or not too happy?

6 Independent Variables MARITAL – Are you currently – married, divorced, separated or have you never been married? INCOME – In which of these groups did your total family income from all sources fall last year, before taxes that is? –less than $22,500 –$22,500 to $49,999 –$50,000 plus OVER50: Respondent’s Age is Under or Over 50

7 Percent “Very Happy” MarriedDivorced or Widowed Never Married 43.5%23.2%18.3%

8 Marital Status and Happiness For the sample as a whole, married people are significantly happier than those who are widowed or divorced or who never married. This relationship is statistically significant at the.000 level by chi-square test. However, divorced and widowed people are likely to be older than average, and this might effect their happiness.

9 Percent “Very Happy” for respondents under 50 years old MarriedDivorced or Widowed Never Married 41.7%19.5%19.9%

10 Marital Status and Happiness for those under 50 years of age The results for those under 50 are very similar to those for the sample as a whole. Marriage seems to lead to happiness for younger people But perhaps this is due to income. Married people have a larger family income which may make them happier

11 Percent “Very Happy” Income under $22,500 Income $22,500 to $49,999 Income over $50, %29.7%42.0%

12 Money and Happiness The data show that people with a family income above $50,000 are significantly happier The causal relationships are ambiguous Marriage may have led to both a higher income and happiness. But does marriage add happiness even for those with a higher income?

13 Marriage and Happiness for people with a family income above $50,000 a year MarriedDivorced or Widowed Never Married 47.6%30% 22.2%

14 Conclusion Even among those with a high income, married people are much happier This suggests that marriage brings both a higher family income and happiness The relationship between income and happiness may be spurious


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