Item from the Smart Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics Collection

Great Britain:


By TIM MOYNIHAN (The Mirror)

A LASTING marriage brings as much happiness as having an extra pounds
a year, researchers have calculated.

Their survey of 100,000 people in Britain and the US revealed that those
separated, widowed and divorced consistently showed higher levels of
unhappiness than comes from losing one's job.

The amount of contentment generated by an enduring marriage was then
compared to that produced by a change in financial circumstances.

And the reckoning was that a lasting union brings as much added happiness
an extra pounds 60,000 in annual income.

Professor Andrew Oswald, of the University of Warwick, and US-based
economist David Blanchflower discovered a sharp decline in marriage.

In the early 1970s, 72 per cent of the random sample were wed. But the
figure had dropped to 55 per cent by the late 1990s.

Professor discovers the secret formula for eternal happiness

By Cherry Norton, Social Affairs Correspondent (The Independent)

5 November 1999

The adage that money can't buy you happiness turns out not to be true -
economists have shown that the richer we are, the happier we become.

But enjoyment of a wealthy lifestyle is tempered by other life events.
According to a mathematical formula devised by a British economist and his
US counterpart, a lasting marriage brings as much joy as having an extra
£60,000 a year, while losing a job "costs" £40,000 in happiness.

The formula used by Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick
involves self-reported happiness levels, income, personal traits and
demographic details. Although well-being has increased for some, on
life satisfaction in Britain has not changed since 1972. Then one-third of
the population was very satisfied with life - the same as in 1998.

The study, Well Being in Britain and the US, looked at 100,000 people in
two countries. Professor Oswald concludes that the happiest people are
women, the highly educated, married couples and those whose parents did

"Married people in Britain report rising well-being over this quarter of
century," said Professor Oswald. "Unmarried people, by contrast, are no
happier than in the 1970s." In the early 1970s, 72 per cent of the sample
were married; the figure for last year was 55 per cent.

Women who cohabit are happier than those who live alone but nowhere near
happy as those who are married, the study found. British men continue to
less content than women; 14 per cent are not very or not at all happy
compared with 12 per cent of women.

The findings showed it would take a pay rise of about £40,000 a year to
"compensate" men for unemployment in happiness terms. "These enormous sums
in a sense reflect the low happiness value of extra income," the study
It was also found that happiness changes with age - in Britain, women are
their most miserable at 40, while men's low point is 43.

Nicholas Gulliford
Co-ordinator - Community Marriage Policies UK
Trainer - Marriage Savers Congregations
Quel Bec, Cothelstone, Taunton, Somerset TA4 3ED UK (w/e - hols)
The Flat, Redington, Northwood College, Maxwell Road, Northwood, HA6 2YE
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