— Young, married couples who had not started a family
have the happiest relationships, according to a study of British attitudes.
The initial findings of
Understanding Society, a 48.9 million pound study commissioned by the government-backed
Economic and Social Research Council, showed older couples were less content
than their younger counterparts, with women experiencing a greater decline in
happiness than men.
Researchers discovered couples who
had been together for less than five years were more likely to see their
happiness blossom than those in a longer-term relationship.
The taxpayer-funded study, which is
tracking 40,000 households over the next 20 years in a bid to improve
understanding of people’s lives and experiences, found married couples were
happier than their cohabiting peers.
Relationships in which both
partners had a university education were also more likely to see their
happiness prosper, according to the study which says it will “map the social
landscape as the country recovers from the deepest recession for 60 years.”
According to the data, unemployment
has a negative impact on the amount of satisfaction a relationship can bring a
man but while income did not affect male happiness in a relationship, it proved
“mildly important” for women.
Living in single parent households
was associated with lower levels of happiness for children, as was living with
The survey also found one in six
households was in poverty, with pensioners and families with children most
likely to fall into this category.
The findings come less than a week
after Britain started measuring national happiness to see how satisfied people
living in Britain are with their lives.