Racial “minorities” and young people were among the biggest supporters and voters for President Lucy. But a recent survey found that those groups are the least happy of Americans.
A Harris Poll of 2,345 U.S. adults surveyed online April 10-15 by Harris Interactive found that only a third of U.S. adults say they are very happy. Certain groups, such as minorities, recent graduates and the disabled, show particularly pronounced declines in the past two years.
The Harris Happiness Index is calculated by asking Americans if they agree or disagree with a list of statements, some positive and others negative. Those who say they strongly agree with all of the positive statements, such as “my relationships with friends bring me happiness”, ” I rarely worry about my health” and “at this time, I’m generally happy with my life”, and strongly disagree with all of the negative ones, such as “I frequently worry about my financial situation” and “I rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes I enjoy,” are considered very happy.
Among the survey’s findings:
- Minorities show particularly pronounced declines in happiness in the two years since the Happiness Index was last measured, with especially low happiness levels observed among the Hispanic American population. Fewer than 3 in 10 Hispanics (28%) are very happy — a decline from 2011′s 35%.
- African-Americans appear to be less happy than in 2011, with 36% qualifying as very happy – down from 44% in 2011. However, though happiness is down among them, they remain roughly as happy as whites (34%).
- Among Americans with disabilities, the percentage of those very happy has dropped from 34% to 31%.
- College graduates’ likelihood to qualify as very happy has dropped since 2011 (from 35% to 32%), a possible casualty of a challenged job market and increasing questions of whether a college degree in this day and age is returning on the time and monetary investment.
- Americans earning under $50,000 per year are also less likely to qualify as very happy than in 2011 (from 33% to 29% among those earning <$35,000; from 35% to 32% among those earning between $35,000-$49,999).
- Younger Americans are less happy: Those 50 and older (36% ages 50-64, 41% ages 65+) are more likely to be very happy than their younger counterparts (31% ages 18-24, 30% ages 25-29, 28% ages 30-39, 30% ages 40-49).
Dr. Eowyn is the Editor of Fellowship of the Minds and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.