Australian widowers happier than married folks

May 17th, 2008

Should married people that own their homes be checking their daily coffee? Seven years of research by Australian Unity and Deakin University on ‘wellbeing’ have yielded some interesting findings about the Australian population. Somewhat surprising is the revelation that widowers are happier than married people, provided that they already own their home.

I can hear it now: “thanks darling, but your services are no longer required.” The report, “What makes us happy?” shows that widows who are also home owners score a ‘wellbeing index’ of 77.5, narrowly beating the 77.0 for married people in the same situation. (This news is particularly worrying when your wife’s PhD is about women who kill – she knows how they can get away with it.)

Your wellbeing index is based on you rating how “satisfied” you are, on a scale of one to ten, over eight different questions such as “Your health”. The answers are averaged and multiplied by 10. The average, for Australia, is about 75 – a bunch of fairly happy campers we are.

The report asserts that widowers are happy because of their demographic: they tend to be the older generations, who are also shown to be happier on average – the older the better in fact. Wellbeing for most drops to its lowest during the mid-40s.

Aside from fairly predicable results, such as sick people being less happy than healthy ones, other more interesting result include:

* Showing that there was no statistical correlation of our growing GDP per capita versus our well-being, despite what the rich ruling class in Australia keep telling us.

* Wellbeing starts to plateau after yearly family income exceeds about $150,000 (AUD).

* Years ago, women were significantly happier than men – now it is roughly the same.

* People who aren’t spiritual/religious are happier than slightly or moderately spiritual/religious people. You need to be a religious zealot/nut (8-10 on a strength scale of 0 to 10), to see any benefit.

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