by: Nancy Baym
There is a lot of coverage of this week’s report from MTV and the Associated Press about what makes young people happy. Most of the coverage is all about time with family ranking first. When asked “What one thing in your life makes you most happy?” 20% of respondents, a plurality, chose “family/spending time with family.” Good news, said this mother.
What is getting NO coverage is that in the other set of questions where they asked, item by item, “please tell us how happy or unhappy this makes you,” the OVERWHELMING top thing that made most people either very happy or happy was “listening to music.”
72% said their relationship with their parents made them very or somewhat happy.
76% said their relationship with their family made them very or somewhat happy.
84% said their relationship with their friends made them very or somewhat happy.
88% said listening to music made them very or somewhat happy.
Listening to music did not just have the most “very or somewhat” votes, it had the most “very” votes.
It came in 8th on the “what one thing” question, with 4% choosing listening to music as their one thing.
So one interpretation of the poll is that family make kids happiest, but another equally valid interpretation of the data (all available here in PDF form), especially given that people are not limited to one thing in real life, is that music makes kids happiest. I find that amazing — more than sports, sex, friends, ANYTHING ELSE, kids said listening to music makes them happy.
Why is that not worthy of news coverage?
Socializing online made 42% very or somewhat happy, and made only 3% unhappy.