London: Britons who climb the social ladder are more content and happier when they get older than people in the US who are similarly upwardly mobile, new research has revealed.
Also, people who grew up in a working class family were more satisfied in later life than those from a higher class background, according to the researchers from University of Manchester.
“Everybody believes that in the US, it is easier to climb the social ladder whereas among the English people, there is less social mobility,” said lead researcher Dr Bram Vanhoutte.
The team discovered that English people who do manage to upgrade their social status substantially end up with a greater sense of autonomy and control.
“In the US on the other hand, people who have risen in society’s ranks are less satisfied than those who have not, raising serious questions on the practical merits of living the American dream,” Dr Vanhoutte added.
The researchers sought to find out whether social mobility makes people happier in later life while taking into account people’s living conditions.
The findings also suggest that growing up in a highly educated household in the US does make a difference to the sense of happiness in later life.
The team is now investigating in more detail exactly how occupational careers and partner histories shape levels of well-being in later life.
The paper by Dr Vanhoutte and professor James Nazroo was published in the Journal of Population Ageing.