What To Do When You Hit 47.2 & How To Combat Unhappiness In Life

Dianna Lesage
7 min readFeb 6, 2020

Here is a riddle for you, what is the same across 132 countries all over the world including 95 developing nations and the United States?

Is it the unemployment rate?

Is it the consumer price index?

Could it be the real GDP?

No, of course not. How could anything possibly be the same when contrasting a country with an obesity problem and one where humans are dying of starvation? Well, according to Dartmouth University professor David Blanchflower, one thing comes to mind and that is unhappiness.

In his brand new published study on age and subjective well-being, Blanchflower not only establishes data that prove unhappiness exists in all 132 countries he researched, but he also claims that nearly the exact same “Unhappiness Curve” exists in every nation from the richest and freest to the poorest and worst off.

“The curve’s trajectory holds true in countries where the median wage is high and where it is not and where people tend to live longer and where they don’t,” Blanchflower wrote in the “Age and Subjective Well-being” study

The above graph is of age mapped against unhappiness in the United States and comes directly from his eyebrow-raising study. The blue dots indicate averages of the actual responses from the cohort and the orange dots indicate the same responses but controlled for environmental and economic factors depending on location in the country.

Regardless of which line you look at, there is a clear pattern emerging from the data. Individuals from 18–40 find their level of unhappiness increasing pretty consistently and slowly. But from 40–50, we see reported levels of unhappiness skyrocket.

Essentially, the U.S population is the least happy it’s ever been.

In true economist fashion, Blanchflower has gone so far as to provide us with an exact age in which happiness is the lowest in our lives. This peak moment of misery? 47.2 in the developed world and 48.2 in developing



Dianna Lesage

Venture Studio expert. Creator capitalist. Lover of innovation.