Are Massachusetts Married Couples Happier Than Singles?

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Divorce |

A July 2022 Pew Research study found that 69% of Americans say they are married, while 22% have never wed. While marriage can certainly be challenging, it appears to be correlated with increased levels of well-being among adults in the U.S., according to recently released data from Gallup and the Institute for Family Studies .

Gallup surveyed more than 2.6 million adults, mostly via phone, from 2008 to 2023 to examine the relationship between marital status and happiness.

Using the Cantril ladder — a measure of subjective well-being — researchers assessed participants’ current and anticipated future life satisfaction.

Married people, particularly those aged 25 to 50, consistently reported higher levels of well-being compared to singles, regardless of race, age, and gender.

The data suggests that marital status is a stronger predictor of well-being than demographic factors like education, income, political affiliation, and religion. Even when researchers controlled these variables, married people remained significantly more likely to be thriving than their single counterparts. For instance, a married person who didn’t attend high school was more satisfied with life, on average, than an unmarried person with a graduate degree.

On a broader scale, the connection between well-being and marriage may extend to entire communities. The study found that people living in metropolitan areas with higher marriage rates, such as Provo, Utah, tended to have higher levels of subjective well-being.

Other places with notable well-being and marriage rates included Ogden, Utah, and the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California metro area.

Big cities like Honolulu, Washington, D.C., Austin, and San Francisco also had high rates of happiness. Even though these metros attract a lot of young people who are unmarried, they still have a high percentage of children raised by married couples, ranging from 72% to 78%.

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