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BizReport : Research archives : July 11, 2016

Report: Americans optimistic but unhappy

Americans are unhappy but optimistic about the future. That's the world from a new Harris Poll, which found that happiness decreased by more than 30% in 2015; only about 31% now say they are 'very happy'.

by Kristina Knight

Of course, there are degrees of happiness, and The Harris Poll researchers found most (81%) are 'generally happy', and that women are probably happier than men (33% vs. 29%). For both genders, the happiness quotient has steadily declined since 2008 when 33% of men and 36% of women stated they were happy with their lives.

While the happiness numbers are low, American's thoughts about the future are more positive. Most (7 in 10) say they are optimistic about the future.

"In both cases, however, a greater proportion of Americans only somewhat (as opposed to strongly) agree, illustrating the rationale behind how the Happiness Index is calculated - and that it represents greater cheerfulness than merely mild contentment," write the researchers. "General happiness has fluctuated between the low 80s (83% high in 2008) and upper 70s (77% low in 2013), while future optimism has ranged between nearly 80% (79% high in 2009) and the upper 60s (67% low in 2013)."

Americans are most happy about their relationships with friends and family, but 73% report that they 'feel unheard' on a national/governmental level and that their voice isn't heard on issues that affect them.

Americans are least happy (62% are 'frequently worried' about their financial situation and 34% report their 'work is frustrating'. Only about one-third (33%) regularly take part in hobbies or enjoyable pastimes.

Tags: American consumers, consumer happiness, consumer optimism, Harris Poll

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