Associate Professor of Sociology at University of Nevada-Reno
To what extent is the current political climate affecting the happiness of Americans?
Which Americans? Normally, politics has little or no effect on happiness, but there may be a small boost for people who identify with the party currently in power.
What tips do you have for someone who is unhappy with their career?
Seek autonomy, appreciative management, job security (especially as you get older), and, if possible, a situation in which your main tasks are satisfying in themselves.
Does an individual’s happiness increase or decrease with age?
The effect of age is small, but curvilinear: Very happy in young adulthood, dropping slightly through middle age, rising again into old age, net of other thing changes. Bad health, of course overshadows this.
How about marriage?
Married people are happier than never-married people, separated people, and divorced people. Widowed people (except in the initial stage of bereavement) are more similar to married people. This is a broad brush average net of other influences (age, etc.). Not surprisingly, a warm and loving marriage is even better.
How much does where you live influence your happiness?
Climate matters a lot.
Can money buy happiness?
Scholars argue about this. My sense of the best evidence is that societal development & prosperity (which are very strongly linked) promote happiness. For individuals, income probably matters, but you get the most “bang for your buck” close to the bottom: small gains in income make poor people a good deal happier, but it takes substantially larger income gains to achieve equal boots to happiness for affluent people.