02/14/2006 - Americans have always had a thing about happiness. We all have certain unalienable rights, declares our Declaration of Independence, among them "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
So then, a couple of centuries into the chase, how are we doing?
Alas, only so-so. Just a third (34%) of adults in this country say they're very happy, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey. Another half say they are pretty happy and 15% consider themselves not too happy. These numbers have remained very stable for a very long time.
But some of us are happier than others, and this variance helps to paint a portrait of the kind of people Americans are. It also casts doubt on some of the famous wisdom on the subject.
For example, remember grandma's aphorism about money not buying happiness? Well, brace yourself, but dear ole grandma may have been misinformed. Our survey shows that nearly half (49%) of those with an annual family income of more than $100,000 say they're very happy. By contrast, just 24% of those with an annual family income of less than $30,000 say they're very happy.
Read the full report Are We Happy Yet? on the Pew Research Center Web site.