Surveys carried out over 30 plus years reveal the age of which people are happiest.

People get happier while they get older, research finds.

Surveys of Americans carried out between 1972 and 2004 show that older folks are the nation’s happiest.

Across the different generations, around 50% of people over the age of 80 said they were ‘very happy’.

It may be because older, more mature people are likely to be more at ease with themselves and to have higher self-esteem.

Dr Yang Yang, the author of the research, said:

“Understanding happiness is vital that you understanding quality of life. The happiness measure is a guide to how well society is meeting people’s needs.”

For the series of surveys a representative cross-section of Americans was asked the next question:

“Taken all together, how would you say things are these day  – would you say which you are very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?”

The responses also produced some interesting wrinkles.

The so-called ‘baby boomer’ generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, were less happy than other equivalent generations.

Dr Yang said:

“This is probably simply because that the generation as an organization was so large, and their expectations were so great, that not everyone in the group could easily get what he or she wanted as they aged due to competition for opportunities.

This could lead to disappointment that may undermine happiness.”

The analysis also unearthed that African Americans are, on average, less happy than whites.

Among 18-year-olds, just 15% of black men said they were very happy in comparison to 33% of white women.

In fact, women were more happy than men overall, across racial and class divides.

Over the years, needless to say, having a significant other and achieving your health prompt you to much more happy.

One surprise, to some perhaps, is that having no children increasеs the likelihood of being happy over the lifetime.

The study was published in the journal American Sociological Review (Yang, 2008).