Marriage makes you happy – regardless of what the elites want to believe

by Ryan Streeter on April 23, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

The best bits of empirical data are those that fly in the face of elitists. Like this one from Gallup:

Americans’ wellbeing differs greatly by marital status, according to data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Americans who are married have the highest levels of wellbeing (68.8), while those who are divorced (59.7) and, in particular, those who are separated experience the lowest levels of wellbeing (55.9). Those who are single, living with a domestic partner, or widowed fall in between.

Wellbeing Index by Marital Status

Hollywood loves to portray married life as full of disloyalty and dissatisfaction –  a true dystopia (how’s that for some alliteration?). Coastal elites love to portray marriage as an outdated institution that chains people to ancient archetypes that today are nothing more than vacuous formalities that have nothing to do with authenticity (how’s that for elite-speak?).

But the Gallup survey only replicates what other social scientists have been finding for awhile: married couples are just plain happier with their lives. They consistently report higher levels of happiness in just about every category – even sex.

It is worth noting that the Gallup figures combine a number of data points, two of which singles score higher than married people. Singles, for instance, are rate their lives and future on a scale of 1-10 a little higher than married people, and they’re happier about their physical health. Some of this is probably because singles are younger on average. But overall, when it comes to comprehensive emotional health and satisfaction with work and quality of life (some of which probably also has to do with married people being older), married Americans are just plain happier.