Are People Happier Today?

bum-man-lazySociologist Robert Putnam claims young people today are much less content than in times past. In fact, younger people now tend to be sadder than older people. He writes:

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“Over these same years … general contentment with life declined among people under fifty-five, while increasing modestly among people over that
age. Surveys in the 1940’s and 1950’s had found that younger people were happier than older people. By 1975 age and happiness were essentially uncorrelated. By 1999, however, younger people were unhappier than older people. The bottom line: a widening generation gap in malaise and unhappiness. … The younger you are, the worse things have gotten over the last decades of the twentieth century in terms of headaches, indigestion, sleeplessness, as well as general satisfaction with life and even likelihood of taking your own life.”

(Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2000, p. 263)

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