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Are Latter-day Saint Marriages Happier?

A few weeks ago I posted some numbers that suggested that Latter-day Saints have significantly lower divorce rates than non-Latter-day Saints. Fair enough, but are these marriages actually happier, or is this just because the stigma against divorce in Latter-day Saint culture is keeping marriages together that would have otherwise divorced? Unlike the divorce question, I am not aware of anybody else who has tested whether Latter-day Saint marriages are happier.

Thankfully, every year the US General Social Survey (discussed in the last divorce post) asks married respondents about their happiness with their marriage: “Taking things all together, how would you describe your marriage? Would you say that your marriage is very happy, pretty happy, or not too happy?”

I pooled the last 10 years in order to get enough Latter-day Saints (although the results don’t substantively change if we include the last 15 years like I did with the divorce post), and scored “very happy” as a 3, “pretty happy” as a 2, and “not too happy” as a 1.

If we do this, we have 96 randomly sampled married Latter-day Saints to compare to everyone else (with 159 if we extend it back 15 years). The average non-Latter-day Saint marital happiness score is 2.59, whereas the average Latter-day Saint happiness score is 2.71. While both groups on average indicate that their happiness falls somewhere between “very happy” and “pretty happy,” Latter-day Saints are closer to “very happy.”

This difference is statistically significant. Therefore, it does appear that, in terms of self-rated happiness with their marriage, US Latter-day Saints score higher than others in the US. As always the code is on my Github page.


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