Would Longevity Make Us Happier?

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  • Title: Would Longevity Make Us Happier?: The Role of Social Relations in the Link between Happiness and Aging
  • Author(s): Yuko Nozaki
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Aging & Social Change
  • Journal Title: The Journal of Aging and Social Change
  • Keywords: Longevity, Aging Society, Social Relations, Ordered Logit Model
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 1
  • Date: February 03, 2023
  • ISSN: 2576-5310 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2576-5329 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2576-5310/CGP/v13i01/107-123
  • Citation: Nozaki, Yuko. 2023. "Would Longevity Make Us Happier?: The Role of Social Relations in the Link between Happiness and Aging." The Journal of Aging and Social Change 13 (1): 107-123. doi:10.18848/2576-5310/CGP/v13i01/107-123.
  • Extent: 17 pages

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How does longevity influence happiness? Happiness has become of great public concern as population aging is now a global phenomenon. Therefore, determining how to improve older adults’ quality of life is an important issue for social welfare policy. Although many studies find a U-shaped relationship between happiness level and age over one’s life, others maintain that there is no midlife dip during one’s lifespan. Due to these differing views, there is no consensus on whether happiness depends on age. Therefore, this study examines the relationship between happiness and aging in later life using selected nations’ data from the Survey of Health Aging and Retirement in Europe, which targets older adults over 50 years of age. Ordered logit regression results suggest that longevity does not itself make one happy or unhappy. Individuals without partners tend to rate themselves as unhappier, but there are limited positive effects for the number of children. High household income affects happiness positively, but there is no statistical significance for factors related to physical health. Moreover, the importance of social relationships has been confirmed. Among the six surveyed countries, dummy data for Denmark showed an unexpected increase in happiness levels. As the number of older people in societies continues to rise, these results would be useful for those determining social welfare policy, as they will face important and potentially difficult choices about how to care for older adults.