This month, two economists presented a working paper that offers statistical proof for the existence of the midlife crisis. In a survey of 1.3 million people across 51 countries, the researchers found that people report a measurable decline in happiness, starting in their 30s and continuing until around age 50, when they started to feel satisfied with their lives again.
“We’re seeing this U-shape, this psychological dip, over and over again. There is definitely a midlife low,” said Andrew Oswald, an economist at the University of Warwick and co-author of the study.
There’s just one problem: Psychologists say the midlife crisis doesn’t exist.
“I had a little tussle with Oswald about this a year or two ago,” said Susan Krauss Whitborne, a professor of psychology and brain science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and just one of several psychologists who hold this view. “I’ve been doing research for pretty much my whole career on adult