MPIDR Working Paper

Family, money, and health: regional differences in the determinants of life cycle life satisfaction

Margolis, R., Myrskylä, M.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2012-012, 29 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (February 2012)
Open Access


We examine how family, money, and health explain variation in life satisfaction (“happiness”) over the life cycle. Globally, these factors explain a substantial fraction of happiness, increasing from 12 percent in young adulthood to 15 percent in mature adulthood. Health is the most important factor, and its importance increases with age. Income is important only at ages below 50. Remarkably, the contribution of family is small across ages. Across regions health is most important in the wealthier, and income in the poorer regions of the world. Family explains a substantial fraction of happiness only in Western Europe and Anglophone countries.
Keywords: World, family, health, income, mental health
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