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Americans Largely Satisfied With 10 Personal Life Aspects

Americans Largely Satisfied With 10 Personal Life Aspects

Story Highlights

  • At least 90% satisfied with family life, education, leisure-time activity
  • Largest subgroup differences on income, housing, standard of living
  • Higher-income Americans more satisfied with all life aspects

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans are largely satisfied with 10 life aspects related to their finances, lifestyle, opportunities and social life. At least 90% of U.S. adults say they are "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their family life, their education and the way they spend their leisure time. Likewise, at least 76% are satisfied with their housing, personal health, community, standard of living, job, household income and the amount of leisure time they have.

Bar chart. Americans’ satisfaction with 10 life aspects related to their finances, lifestyle, opportunities and social life.

A Gallup poll in January found that Americans have a similarly sanguine attitude about their personal lives in general, while this latest measure, asked in a Feb. 12-28 poll, goes a step further in exploring satisfaction across a range of specific areas of their lives. This is the second time Gallup has measured the public's satisfaction with these specific facets. The previous survey, in 1995, found lower levels of satisfaction across most life aspects, but the results are not comparable because of differences in the content of the two surveys.

Looking just at the highest satisfaction level (those who are "very" satisfied), Americans' family lives (76%), housing (62%) and communities (61%) top the list, while household income (36%), the amount of leisure time they have (42%) and standard of living (46%) are at the bottom. Majorities ranging from 54% to 57% are very satisfied with their personal health, job, education and the way they spend their leisure time.

There are also notable differences in the highest level of satisfaction across each of the life attributes by race, age, education, household income, marital status and whether they have children younger than 18. Although majorities of each of these demographic groups report overall satisfaction ("very" and "somewhat" combined) with each of the 10 life aspects measured, there are some significant divergences in the percentages of those who are "very satisfied."

Household Income, Housing and Standard of Living

The largest disparities in high satisfaction levels among the major demographic groups are seen on household income, housing and standard of living. Americans with higher-income levels are more satisfied than their counterparts with each of these aspects of their lives. The same is true of older Americans, whites and those who are married. All of these categories -- race, age and marital status -- are closely tied to income level.

Satisfaction With Household Income, Standard of Living and Housing
% Very satisfied
Your household income Your standard of living Your current housing
% % %
Less than $40,000 11 25 45
$40,000-$99,999 35 46 65
$100,000 or more 63 69 80
Non-Hispanic white 41 50 68
Non-Hispanic black 28 35 57
Hispanic 25 36 48
18-29 26 41 43
30-49 33 43 59
50-64 37 44 70
65+ 45 58 77
Marital status
Married 46 54 73
Not married 24 37 50
Gallup, Feb. 12-28, 2019

Family Life, Community and Personal Health

Americans' satisfaction with several other aspects of their lifestyles -- family life, community as a place to live and personal health -- diverge by income level and show some differences by marital status and age. Upper-income Americans report greater satisfaction than those with lower incomes on all of these life aspects.

Married Americans are more satisfied with both their family lives and their communities than are those who are unmarried. Yet there is no difference between married and unmarried adults' satisfaction with their health. Older Americans are more likely than other age groups to be satisfied with their communities as a place to live, but younger Americans are more likely to be satisfied with their health.

Americans' Satisfaction With Family Life, Community and Personal Health
% Very satisfied
Family life Community as a place to live Personal health
% % %
Less than $40,000 66 52 45
$40,000-$99,999 80 61 55
$100,000 or more 84 71 62
18-29 72 53 61
30-49 79 59 57
50-64 76 60 47
65+ 77 71 52
Marital status
Married 88 68 55
Not married 63 53 52
Gallup, Feb. 12-28, 2019

Education and Job

Americans' satisfaction with their education and their job or the work they do varies based on their income, race and education. College graduates are much more satisfied with their own education than those without a college degree, but both groups are about equally satisfied with their jobs. Those with higher incomes are more satisfied with their education and jobs than those earning less. White and black Americans are significantly more satisfied than Hispanics with their education, but whites and Hispanics are more satisfied than blacks with their jobs.

Americans' Satisfaction With Their Education and Job
% Very satisfied
Your education Your job or the work you do
% %
Not college grad 45 54
College grad 81 57
Less than $40,000 44 40
$40,000-$99,999 58 58
$100,000 or more 71 69
Non-Hispanic white 60 57
Non-Hispanic black 59 46
Hispanic 46 56
Gallup, Feb. 12-28, 2019

Leisure Time

Older Americans are more likely to be retired, and accordingly are more satisfied with the amount of leisure time they have and the way they spend that time. Likewise, those who are married are more satisfied than unmarried people with their leisure time and activities. Americans who do not have children younger than 18 are also more satisfied with both aspects of leisure time than are those who have minor children.

Americans' Satisfaction With Their Leisure Time
% Very satisfied
Amount of leisure time you have The way you spend your leisure time
% %
18-29 29 49
30-49 33 55
50-64 37 52
65+ 73 67
Marital status
Married 47 62
Not married 37 49
Children under 18 29 49
No children under 18 48 58
Data for both readings are based on half samples
Gallup, Feb. 12-28, 2019

Bottom Line

Recent Gallup polling on Americans' satisfaction with 10 aspects of their lives paints a picture of a public that is broadly content with their family lives, their education and their leisure activities. Yet, some Americans are more satisfied than others. The greatest demographic disparities in high satisfaction levels across all areas measured are on household income, housing and standard of living, but differences exist for all of them.

Americans' income levels have more of an effect on satisfaction with all life aspects than any of the other major demographic categories. Those with higher household incomes are more satisfied with their income, jobs, standard of living, education, health, family life, housing and communities than are lower-income adults. The biggest differences between the two groups' satisfaction levels are on income, standard of living and housing. There are, however, smaller gaps in satisfaction between those from upper- and those from lower-income groups on personal health, family life and community.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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