Poll: Americans Are Less Happy Now Than They Were in 2011

Who's happier: Republicans or Democrats? Women or Men? The Happiness Index has the answers

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Mike Kemp/Rubberball/Corbis

If happiness is a state of mind, then it looks like Americans need to change their outlook.

Happiness — particularly among minorities, recent graduates and the disabled — has declined in the U.S. over the past two years, according to the latest Harris Poll Happiness Index.

In an online survey of 2,345 adults, only 36% of African-Americans gave answers that classified them as “very happy” — a slump from 44% in 2011, when the last Happiness Index was conduct. That’s comparable to 34% of whites. Roughly the same decrease in happiness was observed in Hispanic Americans, with only 28% identifying as “very happy”. The lower percentage on the later group, the poll points out, could be attributed to the ongoing (and highly contentious) immigration debate.

(MORE6 Unique Ways to Be Successful and Happy)

Not surprisingly, the happiness of college graduates also dipped slightly over the past two years, from 35% to 32%. We can’t imagine why. (Perhaps it’s the consistently lackluster job market and huge heaps of student loan debt?). And for Americans with disabilities, the percentage of respondents who qualified as “very happy” has decreased from 34% to 31%, which the Harris Poll suggests could be linked to budget sequester cuts in disability programs.

Other notable results from the study:

  • Women are slightly happier than men (35% to 32%)
  • Democrats and Republicans are equally “very happy” (35%), but happier than political independents (32%)
  • While 75% of Americans were optimistic about the future in 2011, only 67% reported feeling upbeat this year

The results were gleaned from a survey taken between April 10 and 15, 2013. Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with a list of statements, such as “my relationships with friends bring me happiness” and “I rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes I enjoy”.

Let’s hope that more Americans begin to seek their happiness so the next Harris Poll is a bit cheerier.

MOREA New Neighborhood May Boost Health and Happiness, If Not Wealth

16 comments
MickeyCashen
MickeyCashen

xhidden99 - yet Barbara and Jeb Bush, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, and Bob Dole, say it's the GOP that has to get rid of the philosophy of hate and learn that compromise is a dirty word.  Meanwhile, there have been 2,249,000 added jobs the last 6 months, California is showing that Obamacare is MUCH less costly than the GOP claimed, and President Hillary is sounding more and more likely as the GOP can't figure out how to get rid of the Tea Party infecting it.  There's plenty to smile about for liberals.

But you can't categorize people as you do.  I've known plenty of positive, forward-looking liberals and conservatives. Your attempt to present liberals in such a neurotic way indicates you have some unresolved problems you need to face.

21stcentury
21stcentury

Men are less happy than women because they/we have a greater sense of entitlement.


ElinaKay
ElinaKay

Perhaps people would be happier if the publications they read were properly proofread.

seizeabe
seizeabe

The quietest people during the tornado & hurricane season....

Billionaires & millionaires.

They're always busy with charity work, everywhere except here!

Tax season is the busiest for charity and philanthropy.

Sherm
Sherm

How can we be happy when the media and politicians keep telling us we're not?  Here's an idea:  let's stop electing the same people and listening to the same formulaic news.  

BobJan
BobJan

“The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.” 

"Ghandi"

SmailBuzzby
SmailBuzzby

Our culture is based upon greed and money.  Asking questions like, 'Are you more happy?' without any understanding of what happiness is...what people THINK makes them happy and what actually DOES make them happy...is worthless.

America is not about being happy.  It's about grabbing all you can at the expense of everyone and everything else.  It's about getting yours.  And putting a fence around it.  He who dies with the most wins.

It's like Charlie Sheen said...'WINNING!'

BorisIII
BorisIII

I think everything people do is to try and be happy and stay happy.  Too bad its not working for 66% of the population.

nansee71
nansee71

@BorisIII  Actually, it's   '51' of the people! Who voted for the path toward to a Police State, with a corrupt, deceitful, inept, incompetent, duplicitous administration. Chicago gang-land style! Good thing I'm poor, the IRS would only need 3 minutes to audit me after the above comment! Briiiing it!

21stcentury
21stcentury

@thewholetruth

Suicide rates go up when the economy improves and war ends. Desperation recedes when we pay attention to others in more desperate situations, but when our neighbors get a promotion or we stay on unemployment after others have succeeded in securing a job then the outlook becomes grim and pessimistic. Women have been sold a bill of goods finding themselves divorced or widowed in late middle age with an empty nest and retirement savings decimated by Bush's recession.  GOP economic policies never favor new graduates, women and minorities. Comparing ourselves on the inside to the outside b.s. we are inundated with online and on TV can be lethal. 

nansee71
nansee71

@thewholetruth  Depression? Yeah, that'd be the '49 %' who are aware of what is happening to our country!

BobbyArnott
BobbyArnott

@nansee71 @BorisIIIgive me a break. America has been on the decline for at least ten years. Everyone is at fault. Quit pointing fingers at political parties, man up, and work together to fix it. Nothing positive comes from laying blame at other's feet or being in a rush to take credit for any limited successes there may have been. If you can't see that, you're a part of the problem, not the solution. This is directed at anyone foolish enough to align themselves with a political party. Pull your head out of your ass, please.