- 47% “very” satisfied with their personal lives; one point shy of record low
- 78% very or somewhat satisfied; down five points since last year
- Satisfaction highest among upper-income, married, religious adults
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For just the third time in more than two decades, less than half of Americans say they are “very satisfied” with the way things are going in their personal lives. The 47% of U.S. adults expressing high satisfaction with their lives has edged down three percentage points over the past year and is only one point higher than the 2011 record low for the trend.
The previous low points in Americans’ personal satisfaction have occurred at times of economic uncertainty. The 46% reading in 2011 came when the country was still recovering from the 2007-2009 recession, and the other sub-50% reading (47%) was in December 2008 during the global economic crisis.
In addition to the 47% of U.S. adults who are currently very satisfied, 31% are somewhat satisfied, 11% are somewhat dissatisfied and 9% are very dissatisfied. The current data are from Gallup's Jan. 2-22, 2024, Mood of the Nation poll that also finds Americans’ views of the national economy are largely negative. Gallup has asked Americans whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with their personal lives since 1979. Gallup added the question measuring degrees of satisfaction in 2001.
The combined 78% of U.S. adults who are now satisfied (very or somewhat) with their lives is well below the trend average of 84% since 1979 and is also the lowest since 2011. It is down five points over the past year and comes just four years after hitting a record high of 90% in January 2020, when economic confidence was at a 20-year high shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic forced widespread closures that resulted in an economic collapse in the U.S.
Life Satisfaction Highest Among Upper-Income, Married, Religious Adults
Majorities of Americans across all key demographic subgroups are at least somewhat satisfied with their lives, but only a few groups have majorities saying they are very satisfied. This includes those with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more, married adults, those who attend religious services regularly, college graduates, Democrats and those aged 55 and older.
Nearly all groups’ satisfaction is the same or slightly worse than last year, except Democrats, who are slightly more likely to say they are very satisfied this year. In contrast, the percentage of Republicans who say they are very satisfied with their personal life has slipped 10 points.
Americans are currently less satisfied with their personal lives than they have been since 2011, whether that is based on the percentage satisfied or very satisfied. This lower satisfaction level coincides with weak economic confidence. However, some groups of U.S. adults are still registering majority-level high satisfaction with their lives, including higher-income, married, more religious, college educated, older Americans and Democrats.
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