January 21, 2015


Younger Generations Showing Lower Happiness Levels -- Caused by Stress from Work?

Keywords: Well-Being 

Photo: Crosswalk
Image by mrhayata Some Rights Reserved.

According to a 2014 White Paper by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, a survey conducted by the ministry targeting men and women from their 20s to 80s on their awareness about health showed that the younger the generation is, the lower their happiness levels are. What is the cause of the lower happiness levels of the younger generations? Here is an analysis of the survey.

The respondents were asked to answer questions about their current happiness levels on a 10-point scale. In contrast to the people aged 65 or over, who averaged 6.92 points, the average happiness levels for the ages of 20 to 39 was 6.03 points and for the ages of 40 to 64 was 6.25 points, revealing a decrease in younger age groups. This trend was particularly strong among male respondents.

Responding to a question about whether they feel anxiety or worried, 59.6 % of the people aged 65 or over answered "always" or "sometimes." In contrast, as much as 79.2 % of the people aged 20 to 39 expressed feeling anxiety and worry, showing another big difference. As to the details of the anxiety and worries, the older people get, the more the ratio of the people who feel anxious about "my health and disease" increases, reaching 64.9 % for the people aged 65 or over. In contrast, anxiety or worries about "income, household expenses, and debts" and a "reason for living and concerns about the future" decrease as people get older. This shows that younger generations are feeling more anxiety about their current lives and finances, and about the future.

Remarkably, nearly half of the working age men, aged 20 to 39 and 40 to 64, responded that their worries come from work, and 35.7% of men in the age group of 20 to 39 reported feeling worried about getting along with people at work.
These numbers were much higher than among women of the same ages or men of 65 or older. The most common responses about worries and anxiety from women were about "family relationships," "housework" and "child-bearing and child-rearing."

The happiness level of those who have worries about "associating with others at work" and "work" averaged 5.79 out of 10 points. On the other hand, the average happiness level of those who did not choose work-related matters as a source of anxiety was 6.59 points. As a result, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has determined that stress from work significantly reduces the happiness level of people of working age.

The survey also shows that women have more friends and acquaintances other than their husbands with whom to consult about these matters. However, men have fewer people other than their wives to discuss their worries. As to how people spend their days off, many of the men stay indoors browsing the Internet, watching television or listening to the radio, despite the fact that many report wanting to spend time being active outdoors by going for a drive, traveling or exercising.

Happiness Studies News, Institute for Studies in Happiness, Economy and Society