Study adds up the riches of marriage - 8/04
Smart Marriages ®
Mon Aug 23 11:37:46 EDT 2004
subject: Study adds up the riches of marriage - 8/04
This article from the business section - is another keeper. Print it and
use it in creating Community Marriage Initiatives, to talk w/ legislators,
as handouts in teaching marriage ed to undergrads, to give to friends who
are considering divorce, etc, etc. - diane
- STUDY ADDS UP THE RICHES OF MARRIAGE
The Pioneer Press
Aug. 22, 2004
If you are too busy to baby-sit your finances or earn a $100,000 raise, it
may be easier to secure your happiness by building your marriage or finding
I know this is unusual advice from a financial columnist. After all, I
normally try to help you develop your wealth x not your marital bliss.
But in the long run, marrying and staying married may get you further than
an IRA because it apparently takes a lot of extra money to mend a lonely
This is not my contention. Nor does it come from a sociologist,
psychologist, clergy person or other expert on values or human emotions.
Instead, the conclusion originates from an unlikely source x a pair of
prominent economists who used econometric methods to put a price tag on
situations that interfere with happiness.
David Blanchflower of Dartmouth College and Andrew Oswald of Warwick
University found that unmarried people x as a group x are significantly less
happy than married people, and it takes a big chunk of change to make them
The economists calculate that unmarried people would need $100,000 in
additional income each year to be happier.
They studied responses to questions about happiness from 16,000 randomly
selected U.S. residents, and found that richer people are systematically
more satisfied with their lives. Even so, marital status, gender, age, race,
unemployment, sexual behavior and whether a person's parents were divorced
all play a major role in happiness.
"Money buys you happiness, but not as much as you'd think," says
"Well-being is greatest among women, married people, the highly educated and
those whose parents did not divorce," his research shows.
Meanwhile, well-being is very low among unemployed men, who would need an
additional $60,000 a year to overcome the pain of joblessness.
In contrast to younger adults, happiness also diminishes for people after
age 40. And people in second marriages and black Americans are less happy.
Over the decades, however, blacks have become happier on average x probably
because discrimination is less pronounced, the researchers speculate. Still,
they say, blacks would need an additional $30,000 a year "to compensate for
Typically, economists have assumed that higher incomes and consumption
provide people with greater satisfaction. But a growing body of economic
research is suggesting that while money helps people find happiness, it is
not as powerful as thought.
In fact, Blanchflower notes that if happiness came from wealth, Americans
should be happier now than ever before because the gross domestic product (a
measure of prosperity) keeps climbing. Instead, Americans have become less
happy while the nation has grown richer.
In a 1957 general social survey, 53 percent of Americans said they
considered themselves "very happy." By the early 1970s, only 34 percent
expressed such satisfaction. Late in the 1990s, the number was down to 30
"The U.S.A. has, in aggregate, apparently become more miserable over the
last quarter of a century," according to the economists. Their working
paper, "Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study," was recently
published by the respected National Bureau of Economic Research. To find out
more about the paper, go to http://papers.nber.org/papers/W10499.
In the paper, the economists also challenge the notion that people with more
money have happier sex lives.
"Money does not buy more sex," they report, but those individuals who had
sex more frequently are happier.
The median American adult has sexual intercourse about two to three times a
month, according to the economists. Yet, people who have sex once a month
would need $50,000 more a year in income to be as happy as those who have
sex once a week.
People who paid for sex or had sex outside of marriage reported "notably
less happiness scores," according to the economists.
Married people also reported having sex more often than single, divorced or
As the researchers examined situations that can enhance or detract from a
person's well-being, they attached a dollar value to each unit of happiness.
They did not examine cause and effect questions. For example, they did not
determine if marriage made people happy, or if inherently happy people built
They also did not examine in-depth why happiness levels have fallen since
Still, they found that being single, divorced or widowed is a major source
of unhappiness, and men are particularly unhappy when they must care for a
Overall, men have grown happier in recent years, while women's sense of
well-being has fallen. Blanchflower speculates that women's declining
well-being may be partially because of the pressures faced in the workplace
and commuting to work. Before women commonly held jobs, their happiness
levels were significantly higher than men's. But "as they have become more
equal, women have become less happy," Blanchflower says.
Another possibility for the general slippage in happiness: keeping up with
the Joneses. Research by Alois Stutzer of the University of Zurich shows
that higher income aspirations reduce people's satisfaction with life.
1999-April 1999-April.txt 1999-April.txt.gz 1999-August 1999-August.txt 1999-August.txt.gz 1999-December 1999-December.txt 1999-December.txt.gz 1999-February 1999-February.txt 1999-February.txt.gz 1999-January 1999-January.txt 1999-January.txt.gz 1999-July 1999-July.txt 1999-July.txt.gz 1999-June 1999-June.txt 1999-June.txt.gz 1999-March 1999-March.txt 1999-March.txt.gz 1999-May 1999-May.txt 1999-May.txt.gz 1999-November 1999-November.txt 1999-November.txt.gz 1999-October 1999-October.txt 1999-October.txt.gz 1999-September 1999-September.txt 1999-September.txt.gz 2000-April 2000-April.txt 2000-April.txt.gz 2000-August 2000-August.txt 2000-August.txt.gz 2000-December 2000-December.txt 2000-December.txt.gz 2000-February 2000-February.txt 2000-February.txt.gz 2000-January 2000-January.txt 2000-January.txt.gz 2000-July 2000-July.txt 2000-July.txt.gz 2000-June 2000-June.txt 2000-June.txt.gz 2000-March 2000-March.txt 2000-March.txt.gz 2000-May 2000-May.txt 2000-May.txt.gz 2000-November 2000-November.txt 2000-November.txt.gz 2000-October 2000-October.txt 2000-October.txt.gz 2000-September 2000-September.txt 2000-September.txt.gz 2001-April 2001-April.txt 2001-April.txt.gz 2001-August 2001-August.txt 2001-August.txt.gz 2001-December 2001-December.txt 2001-December.txt.gz 2001-February 2001-February.txt 2001-February.txt.gz 2001-January 2001-January.txt 2001-January.txt.gz 2001-July 2001-July.txt 2001-July.txt.gz 2001-June 2001-June.txt 2001-June.txt.gz 2001-March 2001-March.txt 2001-March.txt.gz 2001-May 2001-May.txt 2001-May.txt.gz 2001-November 2001-November.txt 2001-November.txt.gz 2001-October 2001-October.txt 2001-October.txt.gz 2001-September 2001-September.txt 2001-September.txt.gz 2002-April 2002-April.txt 2002-April.txt.gz 2002-August 2002-August.txt 2002-August.txt.gz 2002-December 2002-December.txt 2002-December.txt.gz 2002-February 2002-February.txt 2002-February.txt.gz 2002-January 2002-January.txt 2002-January.txt.gz 2002-July 2002-July.txt 2002-July.txt.gz 2002-June 2002-June.txt 2002-June.txt.gz 2002-March 2002-March.txt 2002-March.txt.gz 2002-May 2002-May.txt 2002-May.txt.gz 2002-November 2002-November.txt 2002-November.txt.gz 2002-October 2002-October.txt 2002-October.txt.gz 2002-September 2002-September.txt 2002-September.txt.gz 2003-April 2003-April.txt 2003-April.txt.gz 2003-August 2003-August.txt 2003-August.txt.gz 2003-December 2003-December.txt 2003-December.txt.gz 2003-February 2003-February.txt 2003-February.txt.gz 2003-January 2003-January.txt 2003-January.txt.gz 2003-July 2003-July.txt 2003-July.txt.gz 2003-June 2003-June.txt 2003-June.txt.gz 2003-March 2003-March.txt 2003-March.txt.gz 2003-May 2003-May.txt 2003-May.txt.gz 2003-November 2003-November.txt 2003-November.txt.gz 2003-October 2003-October.txt 2003-October.txt.gz 2003-September 2003-September.txt 2003-September.txt.gz 2004-April 2004-April.txt 2004-April.txt.gz 2004-August 2004-August.txt 2004-August.txt.gz 2004-December 2004-December.txt 2004-December.txt.gz 2004-February 2004-February.txt 2004-February.txt.gz 2004-January 2004-January.txt 2004-January.txt.gz 2004-July 2004-July.txt 2004-July.txt.gz 2004-June 2004-June.txt 2004-June.txt.gz 2004-March 2004-March.txt 2004-March.txt.gz 2004-May 2004-May.txt 2004-May.txt.gz 2004-November 2004-November.txt 2004-November.txt.gz 2004-October 2004-October.txt 2004-October.txt.gz 2004-September 2004-September.txt 2004-September.txt.gz attachments database index.html pipermail.pck x x.sh
To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE, or Change your subscription address,
use the form on our website (http://www.smartmarriages.com). Click
Newsletter - right under the puzzle piece.
This newslist shares information on marriage, divorce and educational
approaches. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by members of the
This is a moderated list. Replies are read by Diane Sollee, editor. Please
indicate if your response is NOT to be shared with the list. PLEASE include
your email address in with your signature.
To read ALL past posts to the newsletter, visit the Archive at:
9th Annual Smart Marriages Conference, Adam's Mark Dallas June 23 - 26, 2005
Pre and Post Conference Training Institutes June 21 - 29, 2005
Subscribe to the free e-newslist at www.smartmarriages.com
List your program in the Directory of Classes at www.smartmarriages.com
Order conference audio and video tapes at 800-241-7785 or at playbacknow.com
Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961
cmfce at smartmarriages.com
FAIR USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of
which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of
marriage, family, couples, divorce, legislation, family breakdown, etc. We
understand this constitutes a 'fair use' of such material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information go
to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use
copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
More information about the SmartMarriages