In the media, we often hear the narrative that today's "young people" are coming out of college with large students debts and small hopes at finding a job in their field. This leads many of us to assume that we should rarely see a smile on the face on the face of anyone under 30, but new research conducted by San Diego State University shows that the Millennial generation is actually the happiest one yet!
- 28 percent of young adults (those in the 18-29 age range) said they were "very happy" in the 1970s.
- 30 percent of young adults (those in the 18-29 age range) said they were "very happy" in the 2010s.
- 19 percent of adolescents said they were "very happy" in the 1970s.
- 23 percent of adolescents said they were "very happy" in the 2010s.
Analysis of 30 years worth of data suggested that Millennials are happier than both previous generations, as well as today's mature adults. The analysis also supported the notion that as you grow in age, you grow in happiness may be false. Researchers found that having high life expectations as a youth may be the source of having less happiness as you age.
"Big dreams feel great when you're an adolescent or a young adult just starting out," wrote Jean Twenge, the study's lead researcher. "But somewhere around their late 20s, most people begin to realize reality isn't going to match up."
Twenge also provided The Huffington Post with some more insight on the research, saying how she believes the results are not because a generational divide, but rather a cultural shift that idealizes youth.
"We live in a very youth-focused culture," said Twenge. "Everything that's cool is associated with young people. A few decades ago, there was status in being an older person with a job and children. Now that's seen as lame -- the ideal is to be young and free forever."
One important thing to remember in all this is that while research shows trends and provides interested insight about society, it doesn't always reflect each individual's life. We are all still in control of our own lives and own happiness, and despite what research says we're not totally doomed to become unhappier as we age.