Life Is Good, Say 90% of Americans

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When nine out of 10 Americans are satisfied with how things are shaping up in their personal lives in the face of an impeachment trial, a serious virus outbreak that appears to get worse every day and rising global temperatures, perhaps it’s a good time to reevaluate how people make judgments about their personal lives and how news headlines reflect the country’s mood.

According to Gallup’s latest Mood of the Nation poll, conducted between January 2 and 15, Americans’ satisfaction with their personal lives has reached a 40-year high. The same poll recorded that confidence in the U.S. economy has reached a 20-year high.

Being satisfied, however, is not the same as being happy. In another Gallup survey completed a month earlier, Americans were asked how happy they were. According to the results, 86% of Americans are either “very” or “fairly” happy. Surprisingly, perhaps, that’s the “lowest overall percentage happy Gallup has recorded in periodic readings over 71 years and is only the fifth time happiness has dipped below the 90% mark in 23 readings since 1948.”

According to Gallup, “Household income, political party affiliation and marital status are associated with the largest subgroup differences in Americans’ satisfaction with their personal life.”

About 95% of Americans who live in high-income households, are married and identify as Republicans say they are satisfied with their lives. About three of four in each grouping are “very satisfied.”

At the other end of the spectrum, 80% of Americans with household incomes of less than $40,000 report being “satisfied” and 54% of those say they are “very satisfied.”

The widest difference appears to be based on political affiliation. Fully 80% of Republicans are “very satisfied” with their personal lives, compared with 56% of Democrats. Just 14% of Republicans compared with 30% of Democrats are “somewhat satisfied.” Combined, 94% of Republicans and 86% of Democrats are satisfied with their personal lives.

Two-thirds of white Americans are “very satisfied” compared to 59% of non-whites. Nearly a quarter (24%) of whites also report being “very dissatisfied,” trailing only women, 26% of whom say they are “very dissatisfied.” Just 4% of all those surveyed were “very dissatisfied” overall and another 6% said they were “somewhat dissatisfied.”

Gallup noted, “Americans’ heightened satisfaction with their personal life comes as confidence in the U.S. economy and their personal finances are also at long-term or record highs.”

For those in the 10% of Americans who are dissatisfied with their lives, consider Emerson’s observation, “The first wealth is health.” And here are the healthiest states to live in.