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Marriage Matters More Than Career for Happiness |2024

Last Updated on June 11, 2024 by Silvy

Marriage Matters More Than Career for Happiness

In a world where career success is often prioritized, a growing number of young adults are overlooking the importance of marriage when it comes to overall life satisfaction and happiness.

However, research shows that marriage is the most significant predictor of happiness, far surpassing the impact of career, income, education, or even sex.

The Shifting Priorities of Young Adults

According to a recent survey by the University of Virginia, 75% of adults aged 18 to 40 believe that making a good living is crucial to fulfillment in life, while only 32% think marriage is equally important.

Similarly, a Pew Research Center survey found that 88% of parents consider financial independence extremely or very important for their children, compared to only 21% who prioritize marriage.This shift in mindset has led to a decline in marriage rates.

In 1980, only 6% of 40-year-olds had never been married, but by 2021, this figure had risen to 25%.

The Primacy of Marriage in Happiness

Contrary to popular belief, research suggests that marriage is at the core of life satisfaction, with a downstream effect on everything else, including career.

A study by the University of Chicago economist Sam Peltzman found that marriage is “the most important differentiator” between happy and unhappy people, with married individuals being 30 percentage points happier than their unmarried counterparts.

In his forthcoming book “Get Married,” Brad Wilcox, a professor at the University of Virginia, states that “marital quality is, far and away, the top predictor I have run across of life satisfaction in America.”

He found that the odds of men and women reporting they are “very happy” with their lives are 545% higher for those in very happy marriages compared to those who are unmarried or less than very happy in their marriages.

The Positive Effects of Marriage

A study by economists Shawn Grover and John F. Helliwell followed two groups of adults over time, some who married and some who didn’t.

They discovered that marriage itself had positive effects on life satisfaction, especially in middle age when satisfaction tends to be at its lowest.

Prioritizing Marriage

While financial stability is important, it should not come at the expense of prioritizing marriage. As a culture, we could improve national happiness levels by encouraging people to focus on what is primary – marriage and intimate relationships – rather than what is important but secondary – their careers.



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