Social Capital, Happiness, and the Unmarried: a Multilevel Analysis of 32 European Countries


Vast changes to the status of marriage in modern society have impacted the demo-

graphic makeup of many countries. Particularly in the Western world, a growing

portion of the population comprises of singles that may be separated, divorced,

widowed, or never married. Faced with this change, it is crucial for researchers and

policymakers to understand the mechanisms behind the well-being of the unmarried.

This paper explores the relationship between social capital and happiness for different

types of marital groups. By performing a multilevel analysis on data from 32 countries,

this research demonstrates not only that singles present higher social capital which is

positively correlated with higher happiness, but also derive greater happiness from

equal levels of social capital. Furthermore, this paper explores potential consequences

for further research in social capital, happiness, and marital status.