African Americans Share What Makes Them Happy

In 2012, AARP released a study titled “Beyond Happiness: Thriving,” which explored what happiness means to adults and what it takes to thrive as they age. AARP surveyed more than 4,000 Americans ages 35-80, including African Americans/blacks. Regardless of age, relationships were found to be universally important and key drivers of happiness.

Among African Americans/blacks age 50 and over, family, relationships and faith top the list of experiences that contribute to personal happiness. The most significant were:

  • Watching your children, grandchildren or close relative succeed in what they want to do
  • Kissing or hugging someone you love
  • Practicing your religious or spiritual faith
  • Feeling like a really important prayer was answered


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The experiences that make African Americans/blacks age 50 and over happy are summarized in the infographic below.

Personal Happiness Among African Americans Age 50+

For more information about this research, contact: Vicki Gelfeld, AARP Research,; Yuko Araki, Multicultural Markets & Engagement,; or Manjushree Majhi, AARP Research,

AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP Black Community.

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