Happiness. What is it to you?
Esearch.com, Inc. went out to a random sampling of over 1300 people to find out what makes them happy. Happiness scales and specific activities were listed. See if you agree.
First some basics
- This study was fielded online through the website www.esearch.com. All data was collected from respondents who are active on the Internet.
- Results were tabulated from 1341 responses. Data was collected from May 2008 to July 2008.
- Of the 1341, 38% were male and 62% were female. Ages ranged from 13 years on up, and the distribution of respondent ages good – no heavy skew for any one age group.
- The actual questionnaire can be found here: http://www.esearch.com/survey/
And now the findings:
When asked “how happy are you” there is no significant difference between male and female respondents. On a typical weekday, 36% of males and 35% of females describe themselves as very to extremely happy. Only 6% of males and 5% of females describe themselves as very to extremely unhappy.
The happiest group is aged 25-34 years. 38% of this group report themselves as very to extremely happy on an average weekday. The most unhappy age group is 35-49 with 8.4% reporting very to extreme unhappiness on a normal weekday.
Weekends prove to make everyone much happier. 61% of males are reported to be very to extremely happy on a typical weekend; and 59% of females feel the same way. Unhappiness drops to 3.8% overall on a normal weekend.
The happiest weekend group is aged 18-24 (63.3% very to extremely happy) – but they also share the distinction being one of the most unhappy age groups (5.9% reporting very to extreme unhappiness on the weekend).
What makes you happy?
Regardless of day, are there certain things that make people happy? It seems so. Some are gender and age specific, but spending time with friends is the overall winner in making someone happy. 69.4% of respondents listed it as an affective way to make them happy. Interestingly, the younger you are, the more affective this is in raising happiness. Nearly 80% of respondents 13-17 are happy spending time with friends. This percentage steadily drops as age increases (70.3% of 18-24; 69.1% of 25-34; 62.5% of 35-49; and 64.9% of age 50+), although it is still at the top for all age groups.
Next in line as something to make you happy is listening to music. This scored 66.2% affective in making respondents happy. The trend remained that the younger the respondent, the more this activity made them happy (79% of age 13-17; 69% of age 18-24; 63% of age 24-34; 58% of age 35-49; and 60% age 50+). And on a whole, listening to music is happier for women (68.6%) than for men (62.3%).
Getting positive recognition from a teacher/employer also proved to have a high happiness rating (62.5% rated it as affective in making them happy). Females are only slightly more moved by this than males (63% vs. 61%).
Having the latest in technology devices ranked an overall 4th in the listing of what is affective in making respondents happy (48.8%). And not surprisingly, this was much higher for men than women (59.3% of males vs. 42.4% of females rated this as effective in making them happy). Further, this seems to be much more important the younger the respondent was (64.7% age 13-17, 53.9% 18-24, 48.1% 25-34, 39.8% 35-49, and 33.5% for ages 50+).
A very close 5th was “creating,” meaning gardening, art, sewing, cooking, etc. (at 48.5%). Women find this more rewarding than men (55.3% vs. 37.3%). And the older you are, the more this tends to bring you happiness (44.7% age 13-17; 40.6% age 18-24; 45.1% age 25-34; 53.2% ages 35-49; and 61.6% age 50+).
Twice as important to teens as the 50+ age group is having stylish clothes. 67.3% of teens listed this as effective in making them happy while only 26.5% of the 50+ group felt this way. Overall, having stylish clothing ranked 6th with 45.3% rating it as effective.
The bottom two activities listed were reading (42.9%) and exercising (33.2). Reading seems to be something women (50.8%) and 50+ ages (51.9%) enjoy.
If we look at the differences between what makes men vs. women happy, we see that the top four “happiness effectors” for men are:
- Spending time with friends (69%)
- Listening to Music (62.3%)
- Getting positive recognition (61.7%)
- Having the latest technology devices (59.3%)
Breaking the information down to age differences we see:
13-17 year olds are happiest:
- Spending time with friends (79.6%)
- Listening to music (79%)
- Getting positive recognition (68%)
- Having stylish clothes (67.3%)
18-24 year olds are happiest:
- Spending time with friends (70.3%)
- Listening to music (69.1%)
- Getting positive recognition (67.2%)
- Having the latest technology devices (53.9%)
25-34 year olds are happiest:
- Spending time with friends (69.1%)
- Getting positive recognition (66.5%)
- Listening to music (63.1%)
- Having the latest technology devices (48.1%)
35-49 year olds are happiest:
- Spending time with friends (62.5%)
- Listening to music (58.3%)
- Getting positive recognition (53.5%), followed very closely by
- Creating (53.2%)
Ages 50+ are happiest:
- Spending time with friends
- Listeningto music
- Getting positive recognition
Is life getting better?
Most people responding said they are happier now than they were 5-years ago. 58% of women and 56% of men felt this way. Roughly 25% said they were not happier now, and 17% didn’t know.
Looking to the future, 74% of people expect to be happier 5-years from now. Only 5.4% don’t expect additional happiness. And 20.6% don’t know what to expect. Youth has a higher optimism. 80% of 13-17 year olds expect greater happiness in the future. Only 52% of the 50+ crowd agrees.