.. what makes a good life? .. over nearly 80 years, a Harvard study has been showing how to live a healthy and happy life. “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too.” See Waldinder’s TED Talk
The study provides some data on the experiences of the study participants on what makes a good life … much of it the result of meaningful relationships.
Absence of Relevant Data
.. while we have a huge amount of data on relationships from Federal Statistical agencies including the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, among many sources … we have very little data on what attaches meaning and value to the relationships.
The Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS 2016) tells us a great deal about household composition and relationships. But there is no data on relationships of people in separate households even where the housing units are occupied by members of a former family — such as brothers that might live just a few miles apart. In their new households and separate lives, they may never, or seldom, meet. Within their own households, household members might have meaningful relationships — or be at odds. How can we, first develop, then examine data that provides insights into the development of meaningful relationships?
We live in an era that might have deteriorating meaningful relationships — within families as well as for the population at large. Generalizing, the population has an increasing focus on the computer screen, personalized television devices, evolving and extending patterns of diversity challenges, rural/urban change, longer and frustrating commutes and individual centered occupations (e.g. code developers) … things that create being alone. How about living on the phone? While the phone is a great connections device, we generally use it alone without other people. Meaningful relationships may be waining. This is fueling discord. These isolation factors might be deteriorating the meaningful relationships that might otherwise flourish.
About the Author
— Warren Glimpse is former senior Census Bureau statistician responsible for innovative data access and use operations. He is also the former associate director of the U.S. Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards for data access and use. He has more than 20 years of experience in the private sector developing data resources and tools for integration and analysis of geographic, demographic, economic and business data. Contact Warren. Join Warren on L