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Happiness Is Just the Beginning

by Lymari Morales

"Happiness May Come With Age, Study Says."

That's the title of the most e-mailed -- and one of the most blogged about and viewed -- health story onThe New York Times website for most of the week.

The findings, which people clearly find interesting, if not surprising, are based on our Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data, as analyzed by Gallup Senior Scientist Arthur A. Stone.

Readers of, and particularly our well-being news, have known about many of these trends for a while.

Last October, we reported -- based on the same surveys -- that "Americans Are Least Happy in Their 50s and Late 80s." In December, we reported that "Worry and Stress Decline With Age."

The New York Times story rightly mentions that our survey asks each person to "rank overall life satisfaction on a 10-point scale" as well as six yes or no questions: "Did you experience the following feelings during a large part of the day yesterday: enjoyment, happiness, stress, worry, anger, sadness."

But the survey doesn't end there. While the New York Times article says, "the poll's health questions were not specific enough to draw any conclusions about the effect of disease or disability on happiness in old age," we do in fact ask, in the very same surveys, about respondents' physical health, emotional health, healthy behaviors, and much more. The opportunities for insight and analysis are, without exaggeration, endless.

What's more, because we ask these questions as part of our Gallup Daily tracking, we have a never-ending influx of new data to dive into for insights and breakthroughs about Americans' health and happiness.

I encourage anyone who found the happiness and age findings interesting to check out some of our other recent well-being discoveries. And if you have a research idea or a hypothesis you'd like to test, story ideas are always welcome at

To stay up to date on all news from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, sign up for our Well-Being Index e-mail alerts or RSS feeds.

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