Breaking: Americans Are Very Unhappy

Things are not going too well over here!

unhappy person sitting on couch in despair
Believe it or not, Americans are not super happy at the moment.
Getty Images/Tetra images RF

You’re not going to believe this, but it seems pretty much everyone is miserable right now. A troubling if unsurprising survey conducted by the NORC at the University of Chicago in late May finds that record numbers of Americans currently consider themselves, “Not too happy,” which itself feels like a bit of an understatement given the current state of literally everything.

According to the study, the data represents a five-decade happiness low in America, featuring an all-time low in Americans who feel “very happy,” (just 14-percent), coupled with an all-time high in Americans who say they are not too happy at all (23-percent).

These numbers represent the highest levels of unhappiness in America since the first available data in 1972, when, if you’ll recall, the nation was reeling from the Vietnam War and a little thing called the Nixon administration. The 23-percent of Americans who currently identify as not very happy represent a 10 percentage point jump since 2018. The data also found that Americans are reaching lower lows amid the coronavirus pandemic/myriad other catastrophes going down right now than they did in the wake of other large-scale national disasters. Currently, 38-percent of Americans report feeling depressed, compared to just 33-percent after 9/11.

And that’s not all, folks! Shockingly, half of Americans report feeling sometimes or often isolated in the age of social distancing, up from 23-percent just two years ago. Meanwhile, faith that things will improve, at least in time for the next generation to recover, appears to be waning. According to the survey, only 42-percent of Americans believe that their children’s standard of living will surpass their own, down from 57-percent in 2018 and representing the lowest level of optimism for the future generation since the question was first asked in 1994.

If there’s one actually surprising bright spot to be found, it’s that Americans seem to be unprecedentedly content with their current financial situations, despite currently living through one of the worst economic downturns in the country’s history. According to the survey, an all-time high of 80-percent of Americans report feeling satisfied financially at the moment, suggesting everyone is “assessing their finances in relation to the millions of fellow Americans who have lost jobs, wages, or investments following the outbreak.” Essentially, our standards for economic wellbeing have gone way, way down. But don’t worry, everyone. Clearly, like the meme says, this is fine.

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