Social Capital, Happiness, and the Unmarried: a Multilevel Analysis of 32 European Countries

Abstract

Vast changes to the status of marriage in modern society have impacted the demographic makeup of many countries. Particularly in the Western world, a growing portion of the population comprises of singles that may be separated, divorced, widowed, or never married. Faced with this change, it is crucial for researchers and policymakers to understand the mechanisms behind the well-being of the unmarried. This paper explores the relationship between social capital and happiness for different types of marital groups. By performing a multilevel analysis on data from 32 countries, this research demonstrates not only that singles present higher social capital which is positively correlated with higher happiness, but also derive greater happiness from equal levels of social capital. Furthermore, this paper explores potential consequences for further research in social capital, happiness, and marital status.

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Appendix

Appendix

Table 3 Characteristics of marital status groups, age 30 and above
Fig. 1
figure1

The level of Happiness in Relation to the Degree of Social Meetings and Social Activities on the Country Level, Age 30 and above. Source: Own elaboration based on ESS round. Notes: Round 6 is only in use in order to adjust for different participation in different rounds of the ESS. Grey ovals signify 95% confidence level.

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Kislev, E. Social Capital, Happiness, and the Unmarried: a Multilevel Analysis of 32 European Countries. Applied Research Quality Life 15, 1475–1492 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-019-09751-y

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Keywords

  • Marriage
  • Singles
  • Cohabitation
  • Social capital
  • Happiness