You may have heard $75,000 is the 'magic' income number. Find out the story behind it.
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You may have heard $75,000 is the magic household income for happiness.

But what, exactly, does that mean?

In a landmark study a few years ago, Princeton University researchers Angus Deaton and Daniel Kahneman set out to definitively answer the question of whether money buys happiness. If anyone is equipped to answer that question, it's these two. Both have won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences: Kahneman in 2002 and Deaton just last year in October 2015.


In their study, they analyzed over 450,000 responses from people across America about their annual income and overall happiness to get at the relationship between the two. They broke down their findings using two metrics: emotional well-being and life evaluation.

Emotional well-being is basically how you feel your life is going on a daily basis — your everyday happiness or joy, or, conversely, stress or sadness. ("How are you today?")

GIF from "The Simpsons."

Whereas life evaluation is an overview of your entire life and how you see it going — how pleased you are with where you're at. ("How's life treating you?")


GIF from "Nacho Libre."

Deaton and Kahneman found that low income is associated with low emotional well-being.

Poverty makes it so that misfortunes such as getting sick, divorce, and being alone are felt even more. As income rose, though, emotional well-being rose consistently alongside it.

The thing is, happiness through emotional well-being didn't change too much beyond $75,000. Once that point was reached, people were basically just, "I'm good."

GIF from "Episodes."

In the discussion section of the study, the researchers offer a possible explanation: "Perhaps $75,000 is a threshold beyond which further increasesin income no longer improve individuals' ability to do what mattersmost to their emotional well-being, such as spending time withpeople they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure."

Life evaluation, on the other hand, just kept rising with the income.

So if we're talking about satisfaction, sure, more money leads to more. (I mean, if you make a million bucks a year, you can probably conclude that life is treating you PRETTY GOOD.)

GIF from "30 Rock."

But the thing is, when talking about happiness, what really matters in life are the good times you have with friends and family.

Let me leave you with some food for thought.

The Census shows that in 2014, 63.8% of U.S. households earned less than $75,000. More shocking is that although the average household income historically is right around that $75,000-happiness mark, the median household income is just around $54,000 — which indicates most households in the U.S. fall almost $20,000 short of the magic number.

Now that doesn't necessarily mean that all those households are chronically unhappy, but what it does mean is that a large amount of Americans may not have the level of income necessary to spend time with loved ones, avoid pain and disease, and have enough leisure time.

America is still one of the richest countries in the world, yet so many continue to fight for these basic needs. Maybe it's time we close the gap between so few having so much and so many having so little. In fact, this incredible CEO is already doing his part.

Because if the $75,000 threshold has taught us anything, it's that life shouldn't be about the exorbitant amount of money you could be making. But rather, how happily we could all be living.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."