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Married People are the Happiest, Research Says

Photo from Samantha Gades via Unsplash

Married People are the Happiest, Research Says

By Movieguide® Contributor

Gallup conducted a survey asking American adults to measure their well-being according to how they evaluated their current and future lives.

Regarding happiness, one demographic stood out above the rest. Married couples reported being the happiest compared to other relationship statuses.

“Any way you analyze those data, we see a fairly large and notable advantage to being married in terms of how people evaluate their life,” said Jonathan Rothwell, principal economist at Gallup.

The survey took place from 2008 to 2020 from a pool of over 2 million U.S. adults, via phone survey. An additional 56,653 responses were collected through the web from March 2020 to November 2023. The study states:

Gallup classifies Americans as “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering” according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from zero to 10, based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. Those who rate their current life a 7 or higher and their anticipated life in five years an 8 or higher are classified as thriving.

From 2009 to 2023, married adults aged 25 to 50 were more likely to be thriving — by double-digit margins — than adults who have never married. The 16-percentage-point gap between married adults (61%) and those who have never married (45%) in 2023 is within the range of 10 to 24 points recorded since 2009.

“Things like race and age and gender and education matter. But marriage seems to matter more than those things when it comes to something like this measure of kind of living your best life,” said Bradford Wilcox, professor of sociology and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

“We’re social animals. And as Aristotle said, we are hardwired to connect,” he added.

Furthermore, the survey revealed that family relationships are stronger when parents with children are married.

Gallup asked adults living with children between the ages of 3 and 19 to rate the relationship with their spouse or romantic partner — if in an exclusive relationship — on a zero-to-10 scale, with zero being the weakest and least loving relationship they can imagine and 10 being the strongest and most loving. The same survey also asked those in an exclusive relationship, “In the past 30 days, how many days have you felt like you could not speak to your spouse/partner because you were angry with them or they were angry with you?”

The numbers support the theory that families with married couples with children are happier. The study states:

  • 83% of married couples living with children report being in a strong and loving relationship with their spouse.
  • 69% of those in a domestic partnership and 61% of those in a non-domestic exclusive relationship report the same.
  • Married couples are nearly half as likely as unmarried couples to report two or more occasions per 30-day period in which they or their partner were too angry to speak.

Groups were also divided into divorced adults and those in a domestic partnership, per THE HILL.

  • Married adults aged 25 to 50 were also 16% more likely to rate themselves as thriving compared to divorced adults in 2023.
  • 13% more likely to do so than those in domestic partnerships, at 48%.

Movieguide® previously reported that marriage rates are on the rise:

A recent CDC study has revealed that marriages are on the rise, reaching pre-pandemic numbers.

At the height of the COVID pandemic, marriage rates plummeted, likely due to venue closures and postponed weddings. However, a notable rise was observed in 2022, totaling 2,065,905, according to the CDC. 

The center reported, “This marked the first instance of surpassing the 2 million mark since 2019 when the figure stood at 2,015,603. The marriage rate also experienced a significant increase, reaching 6.2 per 1,000 population – the highest rate observed since 2018.”

The study also noted the five states with the highest marriage rates, which are Nevada, Hawaii, Montana, Utah, and Arkansas. 

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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