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U.S. study: The older, the happier
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People usually think late life is far from the best stage of life, but a new research in April's American Sociological Review said the happiest Americans are the oldest.

This eye-opening research was conducted by Yang Yang, a University of Chicago sociologist. "The good news is that with age comes happiness," Yang said: "Life gets better in one's perception as one ages."

People in old age face a certain amount of inevitable distresses, including aches and pains and the deaths of loved ones and friends. But older people generally have learned to be more content with what they have than younger adults, Yang said.

"Partly because older people have learned to lower their expectations, and they accept their achievements," said Duke University aging expert Linda George: "it's fine that I was a schoolteacher and not a Nobel Prize winner."

Yang's findings are based on periodic face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample of Americans from 1972 to 2004. About 28,000 people ages 18 to 88 took part.

There were ups and downs in overall happiness levels during the study, generally corresponding with good and bad economic times. But at every stage, older Americans are the happier ones.

In general, the odds of being happy increase 5 percent with every 10 years of age.

(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2008)

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