Middle age is the worst. And of the worst, age 47.2 is the bottom, a study has found. A comparison of data from 132 countries analyzed the relationship between well-being and age, Bloomberg reports. A Dartmouth College found a U-shaped "happiness curve" over a lifespan, which hits its low point in developing nations at 47.2 years old. "The curve's trajectory holds true in countries where the median wage is high and where it is not," David Blanchflower wrote in a paper released Monday, "and where people tend to live longer and where they don't." In places hit hard by globalization and the Great Recession, he wrote in another study released on the same day, it's "especially hard for the vulnerable undergoing a midlife crisis with few resources."
"There is growing evidence from around the world that prime-age adults are struggling, and especially so if they have low levels of education," Blanchflower wrote, per MarketWatch. That's especially clear in the US, he said, where drug poisonings, suicide and other "deaths of despair" are increasing. One reason for the low point being where it is is that people's aspirations fade around that point, as they learn to accept and adapt to their strengths and weaknesses. Past research has shown that people become happier when they leave their 40s behind, Pamela Newkirk wrote in a Washington Post book review of The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50. (Read more middle age stories.)