Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beautiful People Are Apparently Happier Than the Rest of Us

The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. From Painting Here.
In news that may be disheartening to most of the population, the University of Texas at Austin reports that beautiful people are generally happier than their plain-looking or ugly counterparts, no matter what their gender or culture. This information comes from a new paper entitled "'Beauty Is the Promise of Happiness?'" by Daniel Hamermesh and Jason Abrevaya.

The authors analyzed data from five surveys conducted in America, Canada, Germany, and Britain. These surveys asked more than 25,000 participants about their levels of happiness while an interviewer either rated their attractiveness in person or by photograph. The results of this analysis showed that people in the upper 15% of beauty ratings were over 10% happier than people ranked in the bottom 10%.

Hamermesh says, "Personal beauty raises happiness. The majority of beauty's effect on happiness works through its impact on economic outcomes." His previous research showed that beautiful people make more money. The economic impact of beauty may account for around half of the happiness boost shown in his current research.

The actual paper goes into much more detail, using charts and graphs over its 47 pages. You can read it for free in PDF format by clicking here.


  1. Beauty is definately not the promise of happiness!! I met people who are considered gorgeous by most others, but who are just not that confident about tehjir own looks and think they're average and plain... Equally, I met people who were nearly ugly (both looks and personality wise) but had such high self-esteem and were totally in love with their own reflection in the mirror... So I would say a lot depends on one's own perception of their looks too, don't you think?

  2. Yes, that is definitely true. I'm surprised the news story doesn't mention that, and the original study doesn't either as far as I can tell (though I haven't read through its entire phonebook-sized length).