We’re at Our Most Miserable at Age 47, According to One Study

The "happiness curve" hits its lowest point in middle age

(Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)
(Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images)
H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStoc
By Bonnie Stiernberg / January 14, 2020 7:00 am

Middle age can be a real bummer, and a new economic study has reportedly pinpointed the exact age when we hit peak unhappiness: 47.2 years old.

Dartmouth College Professor David Blanchflower studied data from 132 countries examining the relationship between well-being and age, and while he found that each country has a “happiness curve” that takes on a U shape over one’s lifetime, that 47.2 low point only is for nations in the “developed world.” People in developing nations, on the other hand, reach their lowest point at age 48.2.

“The curve’s trajectory holds true in countries where the median wage is high and where it is not and where people tend to live longer and where they don’t,” Blanchflower wrote in the study.

However, those who may be suffering from mental health issues during this time in their lives are especially vulnerable when they live in developing countries.

“The resiliency of communities left behind by globalization was diminished by the Great Recession which made it especially hard for the vulnerable undergoing a midlife crisis with few resources, to withstand the shock,” Blanchflower noted.

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