In US, Personal Satisfaction Back to Pre-Recession Levels

As 2017 begins, Americans are more satisfied with their personal lives than they have been in a decade. Eighty-seven percent say they are satisfied with their own life, including 57% who are very satisfied. Both figures have improved since dipping during the recession and are at or near pre-recession levels.

Across most major subgroups, personal satisfaction is higher than a year ago. Republicans are one of the few groups whose personal satisfaction did not increase. The 55% of Republicans who are very satisfied today is essentially unchanged from 56% a year ago. By contrast, Democrats’ personal satisfaction increased from 56% in 2016 to 63% in 2017.

Percentage of Americans “Very Satisfied” With Personal Lives

In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in your personal life at this time? Are you very [satisfied/dissatisfied] or just somewhat [satisfied/dissatisfied]?

 

2016

2017

Net change

 

%

%

pct. pts.

U.S. adults

53

57

+4

Men

50

54

+4

Women

56

59

+3

Whites

54

57

+3

Nonwhites

51

56

+5

18 to 29

52

57

+5

30 to 49

57

58

+1

50 to 64

48

50

+2

65+

54

63

+9

$75,000+

66

70

+4

$30,000 to $74,999

51

53

+2

Less than $30,000

39

44

+5

Republicans

56

55

-1

Independents

50

55

+5

Democrats

56

63

+7

Gallup January “Mood of the Nation” polls

Republicans had reported consistently higher levels of satisfaction with their personal lives from 2001 to 2007, during George W. Bush’s administration. By December 2008, both Republicans’ and Democrats’ satisfaction with their personal lives declined by nearly equal amounts. While Democrats’ satisfaction rebounded by 2013, Republicans’ remained lower, bottoming out at 51% in 2011, and has not yet returned to pre-2008 levels.

Satisfaction With the Direction of the U.S. Remains Low

While Americans are widely satisfied with their personal lives, they are much less satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., as is usually the case. Overall, 26% of Americans are satisfied with the country’s direction, similar to what Gallup has measured during most of the past year.

Two notable exceptions were right before the election, when satisfaction surged to 37%, and in July, when satisfaction plummeted to 17% after several deadly confrontations around the country between black men and police.

Democrats’ satisfaction with the direction of the country declined slightly to 27% in January 2017 from 30% in December and is well below their 41% average for 2016. Still, Republicans’ satisfaction remains lower, at 22%.

Bottom Line

Americans continue to be satisfied with their personal lives but are dissatisfied with the direction of the country. This is part of a broader pattern in which people typically rate their personal or local situation much better than they do the comparable situation in the country at large. Gallup has noted this pattern in ratings of education, crime and healthcare. Unlike U.S. satisfaction, which has varied widely, Americans’ personal satisfaction has been broadly stable over the years. A majority have said they are satisfied with their personal lives since Gallup first asked the question in 1979.

From http://www.gallup.com/poll/201836/personal-satisfaction-back-pre-recession-levels.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_content=morelink&utm_campaign=syndication

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