Americans Are Happier Than Ever, Study Says

NEW YORK | Monday, May 14th, 2012 4:08pm EDT

Americans are the happiest they’ve been since 2008, according to a new Gallup study.

Americans Are Happier Than Ever Study Says 01

According to a new Gallup study based on about 30,000 interviews conducted every month between 2008 and 2012, American nation is currently in its happiest mood. Photo: mlwhitaker26/Flickr

The Gallup and Healthways began examining emotional state in January 2008, and the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows that Americans’ emotional health index score is now 79.9. The previous high was 79.8, which was reached in March 2008 and May 2010.

As The Huff Post writes, the new study was based on about 30,000 interviews that were conducted every month between 2008 and 2012.

Participants of the study were asked to answer a group of special questions considering their emotions over the previous day, such as whether they experienced worry, enjoyment or stress; if they felt sad or happy; whether they learned something interesting; and if they smiled or laughed.

After that the scientists compared with September 2011, and the results showed that Americans have higher scores in all of these categories. Why? According to researchers, improvements in emotional health occur at the same time as Americans’ views improve on their standards of living, as well as economic confidence.

For example, in September 2011, 66.1 percent of Americans claimed that they “did not experience worry a lot of the day yesterday;” while 68.9 percent of Americans responded positively to this statement in April 2012.

Similarly, in September 2011, 83 percent of Americans said they “experienced enjoyment a lot of the day yesterday;” meanwhile, 85.6 percent of Americans responded positively to this statement in April 2012.

The scientists suggested that the improvements in emotional health occurred as Americans’ views improved on their standards of living, as well as economic confidence. The statistics showed that, according to this index, the lowest Americans’ emotional health has been was in December 2008, when the score was 77.5.

By the way, one more poll, conducted by Gallup, showed that a majority of U.S. adults said they consider same-sex relationships morally acceptable.

More than half of Americans, 54 percent, said gay or lesbian relations are morally acceptable – including 66 percent of Democrats and just 36 percent of Republicans – while 42 percent believe they are morally wrong.

Since 2010, a slight majority of Americans have found gay relations to be acceptable. Last year, 56 percent said same-sex relations are morally acceptable.

“Americans’ acceptance of gays and lesbians as equal members of society has increased steadily in the past decade to the point that half or more now agree that being gay is morally acceptable, that gay relations ought to be legal, and that gay or lesbian couples should have the right to legally marry,” Gallup said.

The researchers added that the level of support over the past few years “makes President Obama’s decision to publicly support gay marriage much less controversial than it would have been even four years ago.

Significant pockets of resistance remain – namely Republicans, those 55 and older, Protestants, residents of the South, and, in some respects, men – but majorities of other groups have grown comfortable with gay rights.”

The results of the poll also showed that non-religious Americans are much more supportive than Christians, Gallup said. Among Christians, Catholics are more supportive than Protestants.

Besides, residents in southern states were far less supportive than those in the East, Midwest, and West. Results are based on nationwide telephone interviews with 1,024 adults conducted May 3-6. The margin of error is 4 percentage points, Politico reports.

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