In a conclusion that should be no shock to stressed-out poor people, workers holding multiple jobs just to live paycheck-to-paycheck, renters with obnoxious ass roommates they're forced to depend upon, and literally thousands of other hypotheticals we could both come up to continue belaboring the point, a new report found that money may indeed buy happiness. And here we were just feeling awful for Pat Mahomes. Damn, what a relief.
This new report confirming that which needed no confirmation was published last week in the journal Emotion, under the title "The Expanding Class Divide in Happiness in the United States, 1972–2016." Said researchers found that there was a correlation between people's income and happiness level, and that that correlation still existed with people making lots and lots of money. That last bit contradicts a previous idea from a 2010 Princeton study that at some point, when you make enough money ($75,000), the association between your money and happiness is no longer relevant. Granted that these studies asked different questions but, whatever, you could probably just ignore this bullshit and ask yourself if you'd be happier if someone just gave you $1 million right now.
Also note that, for the purpose of this most recent write-up, the people being analyzed are aged 30 and over.
"We don't find a tapering off of happiness at the top of the income scale — more money steadily brings more happiness," said the study's lead author, Jean Twenge, according to Business Insider. "It's also possible that the tapering effect is an outdated finding, as the link between money and happiness has grown."
The report also goes on to find that white adults with a lower socioeconomic status had their happiness decrease in the time period in question, while the happiness of Black adults in a similar financial situation remained stable. As for people in those groups who were in a higher socioeconomic situation (which factored in income, education level, and occupational prestige), white adults' happiness remained steady, while Black adults' happiness had increased.
"We can't say for sure, but the increase in happiness for Black Americans since 1972 could be due to gains in education and opportunities over this time," Twenge said. "It will be interesting to see if this trend holds true during the Trump presidency and the pandemic; it's possible Black Americans' happiness will decrease after 2016."
As you can see from both the title and that quote, the period in question cuts off before the Trump presidency. It also obviously doesn't cover any economic upheaval, or continued income inequality, caused by the coronavirus. Which is to say that when this study is updated in the future (needlessly?) the results could be even more forehead-smackingly obvious.
"It will be interesting to see what happens with these trends in 2020, given the huge changes wrought by the pandemic and the protests," Twenge said. "I think it's likely that the growing class divide in happiness has continued during the Trump presidency, as income inequality has stayed high. In addition, the pandemic is having a bigger economic impact on lower-income workers than higher-income, which may contribute to an even larger class divide in happiness in 2020."