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A Lasting Marriage is worth £60,000 a Year Concludes New Analysis of Happiness

A lasting marriage brings as much happiness as having an additional 60,000 of pounds income, according to a new research report on levels of happiness entitled "Well Being in Britain and the US".

The study, by economists Professor Andrew Oswald at the University of Warwick, and David Blanchflower at Dartmouth College USA, found that despite a decline over the last quarter century in the number of married people, those who are married report much higher happiness levels than the unmarried. The authors examined the lives of 100,000 randomly sampled people in Great Britain and the US.

In the early 70s, 72% of the report's sample of the US and British population were married. This figure drops to 55% by the late 1990s. However, the report discovered that those in the sample who are separated, widowed or divorced consistently showed worse levels of unhappiness than comes from losing your job.

The report also looked at levels of wealth, and unsurprisingly, found that the more money one has the happier one is. When the amount of happiness generated by a lasting marriage was compared to the amount of happiness produced by a change in one's financial circumstances, the authors' statistical calculations showed that a lasting marriage brings as much added happiness as 60,000 pounds sterling (100,000 Dollars) extra in one's annual income. Some other conclusions of the report include:

  • Happiness is greatest among; women, the highly educated, and, of course, married people
  • Money does buy happiness - but less than is generally thought
  • The graph of happiness over one's life-time is U shaped - falling on average to its lowest point at around age 40 and increasing after that point

Professor Oswald's web page can be found at:

A full copy of this research paper in PDF format can be found at:

Professor Andrew Oswald,

University of Warwick,

Tel: 024 76 523510 (Office),

01367 860005 (Home)