US Personal Satisfaction Drops From 2020 Record High, Survey Shows

February 3, 2021 Updated: February 3, 2021

Eighty-two percent of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives, according to a Gallup survey released on Feb. 3.

The percentage, the lowest since 2013, is a decline from the record 90 percent who expressed satisfaction in January 2020, according to pollsters who surveyed a random sample of more than 1,000 U.S. adults from Jan. 4 to Jan. 15.

The decrease could be attributed primarily to the economic downturn in the U.S. as a result of the COVID-19  pandemic, Gallup says. Among people with jobs, 90 percent reported personal satisfaction, which is nearly equal to the previous year. But only 72 percent of the unemployed said they’re satisfied, a drop of 14 percent from 2020.

The year brought major changes to U.S. society. Schools and businesses across the nation closed due to restrictions ordered to stem the spread of the pandemic, leading to tens of thousands of businesses shutting down. Meanwhile, students struggled with virtual learning, which has hampered the work-life balance of the parents who have managed to keep their jobs.

Unemployment shot to 14.7 percent in April 2020, although it has since dropped to around 7 percent.

Studies indicate worsening mental health due to lockdowns, as well as increases in suicides and drug abuse.

Gallup noted that satisfaction is usually in the 80 percent range in its annual survey; the figure dips below 80 percent in times of prolonged economic stress, such as the Great Recession era.

In a follow-up question, 51 percent of those surveyed said they’re very satisfied with the way things are going in their personal life; another 31 percent said they’re somewhat satisfied. The rest are somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

The annual survey, which is conducted by telephone, is based on a random sample of 1,023 adults aged 18 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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