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HAPPINESS FOR YOUTH

Posted on Tue, May 15, 2012

Happiness for Youth

A seven-month survey of nearly 1,300 young people aged 13- to 24-years-old, The Youth Happiness Study, conducted by MTV and The Associated Press, reveals some interesting facts:

  • Sixty-three percent of young people say they are happy right now.
  • Most young people say the one thing that makes them happy is spending time with their families (20%).
  • The second highest single source of happiness is in spending time with friends (15%), followed by time spent with a spouse, loved one or significant other (11%).
  • Their relationship with God is the "one thing" for five percent of those studied. Spending time with pets also ranked at five percent.
  • Young people generally find happiness in their relationships with their parents (72%), in their relationships with their families (76%) and in their relationships with their friends (84%).
  • Most say their heroes are their parents (66%), followed by friends (11%) and God (10%).
  • Religion and spirituality are important to them (51%).
  • They go to church at least once a week (35%).
  • They see marriage (87%) and children (80%) in their future.
  • They want to stay married to the same person for their whole life (61%).
  • School makes them happy (43%), as do their grades (52%).
  • Personal appearance is a significant source of happiness (51%), as are exercise and sports (67%), the things they do in their spare time (82%) and listening to music (88%).
  • Drugs, drinking and sex all rank rather low, with each having a high percentage (from 45% to 55%) saying the activity does not apply to their lives.
  • Money is no where near the top provider of happiness (1%), but household wealth ranks fourth-highest as a source of stress.
  • Being sexually active leads to less happiness among 13- to 17-year-olds. Eighteen to 24-year-olds find momentary happiness in sex, but not in general.
  • Children of divorced parents are less likely to be happy. Sixty-four percent of 13- to 17-year-olds whose parents are still together say they wake up happy, compared to just 47 percent of those with divorced parents.

"These findings quantify in numbers what we have long known in our hearts and seen in our own experience," said Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family. "A nurturing family environment is the most important thing we can offer our kids. Money, cars, fame, friends, 'good times' — none of those things matter as much to them as knowing they are loved and protected at home."

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