IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Family, money, and health: regional differences in the determinants of life cycle life satisfaction


  • Rachel Margolis
  • Mikko Myrskylä

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


We examine how family, money, and health explain variation in life satisfaction (“happiness”) over the life cycle. Globally, these factors explain a substantial fraction of happiness, increasing from 12 percent in young adulthood to 15 percent in mature adulthood. Health is the most important factor, and its importance increases with age. Income is important only at ages below 50. Remarkably, the contribution of family is small across ages. Across regions health is most important in the wealthier, and income in the poorer regions of the world. Family explains a substantial fraction of happiness only in Western Europe and Anglophone countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Margolis & Mikko Myrskylä, 2012. "Family, money, and health: regional differences in the determinants of life cycle life satisfaction," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2012-012, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2012-012

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    3. Easterlin, Richard A., 2006. "Life cycle happiness and its sources: Intersections of psychology, economics, and demography," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 463-482, August.
    4. Robert Cummins, 1996. "The domains of life satisfaction: An attempt to order chaos," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 303-328, January.
    5. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
    6. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    World; family; health; income; mental health;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2012-012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.