Golden Years: Americans Get Happier in Older Age

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There is an upside to aging: Older Americans tend to be happier, according to a new poll.

In the poll, from Gallup-Healthways, older adults in the United States scored higher on a survey of well-being than did their younger counterparts.

On average, adults ages 55 and older scored 63.6 out of 100 on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in 2015, which is 3 points higher than the average score of adults younger than 55, Gallup-Healthways said. [7 Things That Will Make You Happy]

Gallup-Healthways calculated this well-being score based on participants' answers to questions about different aspects of well-being, including how they rated their sense of purpose, social relationships, financial lives, community involvement and physical health.

As Americans get older, they tend to report greater satisfaction with their standard of living and increased financial stability, as well as less worry and stress, the survey found. For example, in 2015, 40 percent of Americans ages 18 to 54 said they were worried about money, compared with 25 percent of Americans ages 65 and older, the survey showed.

In addition, 45 percent of Americans ages 18 to 55 reported feeling stress, compared with 20 percent of those ages 65 and older.

Although adults ages 55 to 64 reported higher rates of obesity and depression than younger adults, those people ages 65 and older reported lower rates of these conditions.

The poll also ranked well-being among older adults in all 50 states. The state with the highest well-being among older adults in 2015 was Hawaii, where adults ages 55 and older achieved a well-being score of 67, on average. The runners-up were Arizona, New Hampshire and North Dakota, where older adults scored 65.2, on average, in each state. [ Best & Worst States for Older Adults' Well-Being: The Full List]

On the flip side, West Virginia had the lowest well-being score among seniors, with older adults in that state scoring 59.9, on average. Also near the bottom were Kentucky, Oklahoma and Ohio, where older adults had well-being scores of 61.2, 62 and 62.5, respectively.

The findings are based on interviews with more than 177,000 U.S. adults, including more than 93,000 adults ages 55 and older, in all 50 states, Gallup said.

Original article on Live Science.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.