Poll: Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years
A merchant prepares a floral arrangement on Mother's Day in Los Angeles. Americans are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years, according to a new survey. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

Floral merchant in California
50 percent said they feel 'isolated'

It’s been a rough year for the American psyche. Folks in the U.S. are more unhappy today than they’ve been in nearly 50 years.

This bold — yet unsurprising — conclusion comes from the COVID Response Tracking Study, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. It finds that just 14% of American adults say they’re very happy, down from 31% who said the same in 2018.

That year, 23% said they’d often or sometimes felt isolated in recent weeks.

Now, 50% say that.

The survey, conducted in late May, draws on nearly a half-century of research from the General Social Survey, which has collected data on American attitudes and behaviors at least every other year since 1972.

No less than 29% of Americans have ever called themselves very happy in that survey.

Most of the new survey’s interviews were completed before the death of George Floyd touched off nationwide protests and a global conversation about race and police brutality, adding to the feelings of stress and loneliness Americans were already facing from the coronavirus outbreak — especially for black Americans.

Lexi Walker, a 47-year-old professional fiduciary who lives near Greenville, South Carolina, has felt anxious and depressed for long stretches of this year. She moved back to South Carolina late in 2019, then her cat died. Her father passed away in February. Just when she thought she’d get out and socialize in an attempt to heal from her grief, the pandemic hit.

“It’s been one thing after another,” Walker said. “This is very hard. The worst thing about this for me, after so much, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Among other finding from the new poll about life in the pandemic:

— The public is less optimistic today about the standard of living improving for the next generation than it has been in the past 25 years. Only 42% of Americans believe that when their children reach their age, their standard of living will be better. A solid 57% said that in 2018. Since the question was asked in 1994, the previous low was 45% in 1994.


Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Tamara Lush


  • BigSurprise

    June 16, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    It is no wonder that people are not happy. Being shut in your house and not being able to work or get out and socialize, can make anyone unhappy.

    The media, by and large, including this politics florida site, continue to bombard us every day, with how bad things are.

    In most surveys that I have read, it is mostly Democrats that are unhappy, with Republicans less so.

  • BlueHeron

    June 16, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    I agree with your first sentence 100%. Second sentence must mean FAKE NEWS, right?
    Third sentence… what surveys?

    Taking the lead from Trump, Republicans don’t give a flying flip about the pandemic, which is without question, the only reason why we went from a reasonably healthy society to one faced with a highly contagious disease that could kill you. In an effort to slow it down, we shutdown. Didn’t take too long for millions to be forced out of work. Our President took it quasi-seriously for about 5 minutes. He essentially did NOTHING. He had the power to help Americans fight this but he chose not to. If he had the slightest amount of rational thinking, he would have put two and two together. Disregarding pandemic = 2+ million positive cases = economic meltdown/massive unemployment.
    Now it’s nothing but “we’re over the worst”, time to gather in an enclosed arena. Time to pack the local bars. Let’s go to Disney World. Gotta get to the beach. PARTAY!
    Somehow, wearing a mask takes away your liberty? Seriously? It is such a simple thing to do. They work. You are smart, not stupid,for wearing one. Now people are out and about as if everything is normal. COVID says woohoo! Time to really get out there and really spread it around. Now we see record increase in numbers in a lot of states. I have family members at very high risk. What about their liberty? I am playing by the rules, why not you? I wear a mask when I’m out.I’m keeping you safe. Why won’t you keep me safe? Don’t have a mask? Get one and wear it! It’s not rocket science.

    One last thing Einstein. COVID is on fire in states that are crazy about our Dear Leader.You know, his base. Will all Trump supporters say no big deal. He’s still my President. Even when they are deathly ill or have lost one or more family members or friends. COVID doesn’t care who you vote for dumbass.
    Have a look at legitimate polls. Trump and Republicans are seriously unpopular. This administration has sucked the life out of the country and millions of citizens.
    Unhappy. You betcha.

    • jon

      June 22, 2020 at 2:22 pm

      BlueH, You need help! Geez!

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    June 18, 2020 at 6:50 am

    50 years ago I had just graduated college and Nixon was trying to draft me to go to Vietnam. I told him to go fuck himself.

    • jon

      June 22, 2020 at 2:23 pm

      You been holding that in for 50 years? Feel better? Yankee moron!

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Aimee Sachs, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Wes Wolfe, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn