Despite Covid’s struggles, drought, heat waves, wildfires and resurgent inflation, three in five Americans say they are quite happy with their lot, according to the latest Gallup Live Rating Index.
The percentage of Americans who rated their lives as “ prosperous ” reached 59.2% in June, the highest in more than 13 years of continuous measurement, and exceeded the previous high of 57.3% in September 2017. .
During the initial COVID-19 outbreak and economic shutdown, the booming share plummeted nearly 10 percentage points to 46.4% at the end of April 2020, joining the all-time low measured during the recession that began in 2008.
The June 2021 results are based on 4,820 American adults surveyed online as part of the Gallup Panel, a group of approximately 120,000 adults from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who do not accept participation and are based on probability.
For its index, Gallup ranks Americans as “thriving,” “struggling,” or “suffering” according to how they rate their current and future life on a scale of 0 to 10. Those who rate their current life with a 7 or more, and your anticipated life of five years an 8 or more, are classified as prosperous.
The percentage of Americans estimated to be “suffering” has remained consistently low during the pandemic and in line with pre-COVID estimates. Gallop said in a press release. In June, only 3.4% of those surveyed were classified as suffering, according to their own evaluations.
The biggest drop in the affluent percentage last year was marked by a sharp drop in current life satisfaction ratings. By the end of April, the percentage of American adults who rated their current life a “7” or higher had plummeted about 11 percentage points, even as anticipated life satisfaction five years later had improved.
“The rapid recovery of current life satisfaction, coupled with the sustained high level of anticipated life satisfaction, has propelled the booming percentage to its current heights.”
Spikes in stress and daily worries dropped to pre-COVID levels
In addition to general life ratings, Gallup tracks whether Americans have recently experienced specific emotions, including stress and worry, in their daily lives.
The percentage of people who reported experiencing significant stress and worry “much of yesterday” showed unprecedented increases at the start of the pandemic, with stress increasing 14 percentage points to 60% and worry increasing 20 points to 58%.
Reports of experiencing these emotions have subsequently dropped to pre-pandemic levels in both cases.
Significant daily enjoyment has also been dramatically improved. In 2018-2019, about 80% of American adults reported significant enjoyment the day before, which fell to 61% at the start of the pandemic. By June, enjoyment had returned to 73% of the adult population.
Rather than being the result of the launch of vaccination or improved economic conditions, the study authors theorize that the happiness boom was the result of the critical psychological benefit of renewed social interaction.
Meeting in person with family and friends and joining large gatherings of people, such as sporting events, is a crucial part of social well-being. Previous research has shown that those who spend six to seven hours a day in social time experience roughly a fifth of the stress and worry on any given day as those who have no social time at all. These effects are likely to show up as the levels of these negative emotions have improved to pre-pandemic levels in recent months.
It just shows: the ups and downs of life are more powerful after you’ve been through the bad times.
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