Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

General Social Survey – Americans are not happy

Inside Daily Brief – More Americans now say they are “not too happy” than “very happy” for the first time in the 50-year history of the General Social Survey. Typically, more than 30% of respondents say they are “very happy” and between 10% and 20% say they are “not too happy.” But, in 2021, 24% responded with “not too happy” and only 19% with “very happy.” The percentage of people who said they were “pretty happy” remained relatively stable at 57%. Analyst Christopher Ingraham attributes the change in attitudes largely to the pandemic.


  • Both Republicans and Democrats saw happiness decline over the past few years, though there’s a clear happiness gap between the two: Republicans, in general, have consistently been more likely to say they’re “very happy” than Democrats.
  • The survey also showed a widening partisan gap in trust for scientific institutions. Republicans began to trust the scientific community less starting in about 2006, but this gap has also increased dramatically since 2018, with only 34% of Republicans saying they have a great deal of confidence in the scientific community, compared to 64% of Democrats.
  • The General Social Survey is conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago. Look at the survey’s full results and click “Life Satisfaction” for the sortable happiness data.”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.