Overall happiness among U.S. residents has not changed much over the years, according to the latest survey by the Pew Research Center that finds 34 percent of adults are very happy.
Among 3,014 telephone respondents, half reported being pretty happy, and 15 percent said they are not too happy.
The survey, released this week, points out several disparities based on lifestyle, beliefs and political persuasion:
- Republicans are happier than Democrats.
- People who worship frequently are happier than those who don't.
- The rich are happier than the poor.
- Whites and Hispanics are happier than blacks.
- Married people are happier than the unmarried.
- Dog owners and cat owners rate the same.
- Sunbelt residents are happier than everyone else.
About 45 percent of Republicans said they were very happy, compared with 30 percent of Democrats. Republicans have been happier in surveys going back to 1972, the Pew study notes.
The reason might seem obvious, since "Republicans tend to have more money than Democrats, and—as we've already discovered—people who have more money tend to be happier," the report states.
But even after adjusting for income, poor Republicans are happier than poor Democrats, and rich Republicans are happier than rich Democrats.
What about religion?
Forty-three percent of people who attend religious services weekly or more say they're very happy, compared to 26 percent of those who go seldom or never. The Pew analysis does not answer the question of how religion, Republicanism and happiness might be related, however.
The full report is available here.
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Robert is an independent health and science journalist and writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. He is a former editor-in-chief of Live Science with over 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. He has worked on websites such as Space.com and Tom's Guide, and is a contributor on Medium, covering how we age and how to optimize the mind and body through time. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.
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