Happiness in modern society: Why intelligence and ethnic composition matter - ScienceDirect



Recent developments in evolutionary psychology suggest that living among others of the same ethnicity might make individuals happier and further that such an effect of the ethnic composition on life satisfaction may be stronger among less intelligent individuals. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health showed that White Americans had significantly greater life satisfaction than all other ethnic groups in the US and this was largely due to the fact that they were the majority ethnic group; minority Americans who lived in counties where they were the numerical majority had just as much life satisfaction as White Americans did. Further, the association between ethnic composition and life satisfaction was significantly stronger among less intelligent individuals. The results suggest two important factors underlying life satisfaction and highlight the utility of integrating happiness research and evolutionary psychology.

Research data for this article

We thank James H. Fowler, Vladas Griskevicius, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Valerie F. Reyna, and Christie Napa Scollon for their comments on earlier drafts, and Joyce Tabor for her consistent and tremendous help with Add Health data over the years. See Add Health acknowledgments at http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/faqs/addhealth/index.html#what-acknowledgment-should-be.