English title: Subjective Quality of Life of Young Europeans. Feeling Happy but who Knows why?

Author(s): F. Pichler -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2006

Abstract

Latest developments in modern societies have altered living circumstances. Upcoming insecurities concerning employment and family relationships make life more and more incalculable. Especially young adults throughout the modern world are forced to rethink their life concepts and to desist from the lives of former generations. As difficulties to achieve a successful life increase, one could assume that the young are confronted with the impossibility of feeling happy and satisfied with their lives anymore. Yet, latest social surveys prove wrong. Although increasing unemployment, lower net income and single parenthood make life more difficult for the young, they still enjoy very high subjective quality of life in comparison to the older population. Throughout the paper I argue that it is not the objective conditions that make young adults (15–29 years old) feel overwhelmingly happy. Looking for other sources of explanation of high quality of life among people aged 29 or below, I argue for indicators of social embeddedness as being influential on their assessment of life. But again, the proportion of explained variance is smaller compared to older people. With the help of empirical data taken from the European Social Survey I highlight the differences in life circumstances between the young and the total population. Concerning occupation, habitation (kind of inhabited household) and financial situation, most of the young live under different situations compared to the adult world. But surprisingly, the rates of perceived high quality of life among the young do not vary to such a large extent as among the adults. I show that young adults, often damned to fail social demands because of their withdrawal from social life, are still the most happy in modern (more and more individualizing?) societies. But it gets more difficult to account for the reasons of their happiness.

Volume: 75

Issue: 3

From page no: 419

To page no: 444

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1007/S11205-004-4337-2

Journal: Social Indicators Research

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