Life satisfaction of the elderly in Poland - the panel data evidence

Janina Jozwiak, Warsaw School of Economics
Anita Abramowska-Kmon, Warsaw School of Economics
Irena E. Kotowska, Warsaw School of Economics

The main aim of the paper is to analyse life satisfaction of the elderly (aged 65 or more) in Poland and its determinants. The data used come from the subsequent waves of the panel survey “Social Diagnosis – living conditions and quality of life of Poles”, carried out in Poland since 2000. The Social Diagnosis Survey includes data on the economic (labour market status, income, material situation, etc.) as well as non-economic aspects (psychological well-being, lifestyle, health care, social contact, participation in culture, use of modern technologies of communication, etc.) of well-being of household members. Life satisfaction is evaluated on the following question: “Taken all together, how would you say things are these days? Would you say that you are....?” (possible answers: unhappy, not too happy, rather happy, very happy) and defines the dependent variable in the random-effects ordered probit model. Consistently with suggestions by studies in the field, the model includes not only the demographic characteristics of respondents (sex, age, marital status, place of residence, education, health), but also household living arrangements and economic variables (household income per capita, economic activity). Moreover, subjective evaluation of health and the household income situation as well as some information on social activity and religiosity are taken into account. Generally, our findings are in line with the results presented in the literature. Older Poles living with their partners declare higher life satisfaction than those without partner, even if they live with other people. Disability has a negative impact on happiness both in subjective and objective terms. Similarly, the higher income and self-evaluation of the household welfare increase people’s satisfaction with their lives. Also more religious people are more satisfied like those with the higher levels of education.

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Presented in Session 45: Quality of life and schooling