Happiness Costs $75,000/yr. in U.S.

PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 7 (UPI) — Money can indeed buy happiness and it costs $75,000 a year for U.S. adults, researchers found.

Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman, both of Princeton University, analyzed more 450,000 responses to a daily survey — from the Gallup Organization and the Healthways Corp. — of 1,000 randomly selected U.S. residents and found life evaluation rose steadily with annual income, but the respondents’ everyday experiences did not improve beyond approximately $75,000 a year.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found as income dropped from $75,000, respondents reported decreasing happiness and increasing sadness and stress.

Emotional well being refers to the emotional quality of a person’s daily life and is assessed by the respondents’ report of the time spent in positive and negative emotional states the previous day. Life evaluation refers to a person’s thoughts about his or her life and is assessed by a rating scale of zero to 10.

“We conclude that lack of money brings both emotional misery and low life evaluation; similar results were found for anger,” the study authors said in a statement. “Beyond $75,000 in the contemporary United States, however, higher income is neither the road to experienced happiness nor the road to the relief of unhappiness or stress, although higher income continues to improve individuals’ life evaluations.”

Deaton and Kahneman said the data suggest that the pain of life’s misfortunes, including disease, divorce and being alone is exacerbated by poverty.

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