Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Dr. Robert J. Smith in Memphis, 2005. Photo: Carlo Allegri/Getty

Studies have long linked optimism and the attainment of life goals, but a new paper says hopeful people also live longer.

Quick take: The paper, co-authored by Brookings' Kelsey O'Connor and Carol Graham, tracked heads of household starting in 1968. In 2015, 74.8% of the pessimistic people were dead, compared with 68.9% of those who were optimistic.

  • In addition, in 2015 optimists had a 52% probability of surviving another year, while pessimists were at 48%.
  • Women heads of households were the happiest over the period.

How they defined optimistic: The paper describes optimism or hopefulness as "a positive belief that good rather than bad things will happen, as well as the ability to plan for and work toward goals, the latter requiring a certain level of agency."

It stands to reason that attitude is important in outcome. But O'Connor and Graham found a virtuous circle leading to optimism and, as a result, longer life:

  • "The way to understand our results is optimistic people live longer in part because they are better educated, earn greater incomes, and are free from mental or physical work limitations," they wrote.
  • "Optimists [were] more likely to invest in their education, and then education leading to better outcomes along many different aspects of life."

By the numbers: The study, using data from the U.S. Panel Study on Income Dynamics, tracked 7,912 heads of households starting in the period 1968-1975. Their average initial age was 45.

  • It finds that "people with less than a high school degree show the greatest declines in optimism, which along with their long-run links to premature mortality and deaths of despair," calls for more study.
  • They reject the finding by some researchers that people are set early as either an optimist or a pessimist. "Education can influence optimism and optimism can influence education," they said.

What was surprising: I asked Graham what was the most surprising thing she found. She replied that it was "the juxtaposition of very high levels of optimism among poor minorities, and African Americans in particular, against despair and lack of hope among poor whites." She said:

While that preceded our knowledge of the deaths of despair crisis (deaths which are concentrated among less than college educated whites), we have since found that our metrics of hope and optimism on the one hand and stress and anger on the other match robustly with patterns in deaths of despair at the level of individual, race, and place.

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants by May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

1 hour ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.