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U.S. Standard of Living Index Ties High of +52

U.S. Standard of Living Index Ties High of +52

Story Highlights

  • May index reading matches previous high in March
  • Four in five Americans satisfied with standard of living
  • Sixty-three percent say standard of living getting better

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans' positivity about their standard of living continued to be buoyant in May, with a score of +52 on Gallup's Standard of Living Index. The index has been +50 or higher for the past six months, including the May reading, which tied the high in March.

Gallup U.S. Standard of Living Index, Monthly Averages

From a long-term view, Americans' opinions of their standard of living have improved since the index reached a low of +14 in October and November 2008 in the midst of the global economic crisis. After gradual increases in the index in the following years, Americans' evaluations of their standard of living returned to early recession levels by 2013. Since then, aside from a gradual decline during the federal government shutdown in 2013, Americans have grown steadily more positive about their standard of living.

Gallup's Standard of Living Index is a composite of Americans' responses to two questions: one asking whether they are satisfied with their standard of living, and the other asking whether their standard of living is getting better or worse. The index has a theoretical maximum of 100 (if all respondents say they are satisfied with their standard of living and say it is getting better) and a theoretical minimum of -100 (if all respondents are dissatisfied with their standard of living and say it is getting worse).

Both Current Standard of Living and Optimism for Its Future Are Steady

In May, 81% of Americans said they were satisfied with their current standard of living, similar to the ratings Gallup has measured for more than a year. However, the latest reading ties the high point in satisfaction, previously reached in December 2014. Americans have been largely satisfied with their standard of living even at the depths of the recession, with the low point at 69% in 2008.

Americans' Satisfaction With Their Current Standard of Living

Americans' perceptions of whether their standard of living is improving or worsening have varied over time. Currently, 63% of Americans say their standard of living is getting better, which is nearly twice as high as the low of 33% in October 2008. The current figure is one percentage point below the seven-year high of 64%, registered in March and April.

Americans' Future Expectations for Their Standard of Living

Bottom Line

Though Americans' faith in the U.S. economy has retreated into negative territory as 2015 has progressed, their feelings about their personal standard of living have held steady and even improved. Americans are often much more positive about their personal situation or conditions in their local area than in the broader country. Gallup has found large and consistent differences in how Americans rate personal and local versus national healthcare and health insurance, crime and schools.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 1-31, 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 3,178 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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