Happiness Index: One Third of Americans Very Happy, Men’s Happiness Lowers

A third of Americans (33 percent) are happy, reveals the latest Happiness Index from Harris Poll. The share of happy Americans is down two percent from the results in 2009 and 2008, when the portion of very happy Americans was 35 percent.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive from May 9-16 with the participation of 2,184 American adults. The poll uses timeless and standard questions to assess the overall level of happiness in the US each year.

The participants were asked if they disagreed or agreed with a series of positive and negative statements about their relationships with friends, their health concerns, their financial situation, hobbies and activities, and various other aspects of their life.

The survey also revealed that women are happier than men – 31 percent of the men said they were very happy, down one percent from last year, and 3 percent from 2009, while 36 percent of women said they were very happy, up one percent from last year.

Racial groups show some significant differences. White Americans are the least happy, with only 32 percent saying they were very happy, while 44 percent of African Americans said they were very happy, up from 40 percent last year. Latin Americans come in second according to happiness levels, with 35 percent of the group saying they were very happy, down four percent from last year.

Not surprisingly, the happiest Americans are those from households with income of at least 100,000 dollars per year. The surprise came when Harris Interactive identified the least happy group – households making 75,000-99,999 dollars per year. In this group, only 29 percent of the respondents said they were very happy.


Americans Highly Aware Of Health Issues, Behavior Differs by Age

The US adult population is highly aware of the basic nutritional and other health-related facts of foods and beverages they purchase, ways to keep their weight in check, and they prefer locally produced food. Despite a high level of awareness in terms of health, their health-consciousness does not necessarily translate into appropriate purchase behavior.

A recent survey by Harris Interactive reveals that age plays a key role in purchasing preferences. Consumers aged 66 and above have a tendency to be careful about nutritional facts and tend to make purchase decisions for foods that are healthier than the choices of other generations. This tendency might be triggered by their need to adhere to specific diets, with restrictions for certain elements such as sugar or salt.

Among the key findings of the survey are the fact that most Americans have a high awareness when it comes to nutritional properties of their food and beverages. About 89 percent of them place high importance on fresh produce, while 81 percent prefer fiber and whole grains; 80 percent are keen on checking content of fat, size of the portion – 79 percent, calories – 77 percent, and saturated fats – 76 percent. Highly specialized nutritional products are not given a lot of importance by consumers, as only 33 percent said gluten was important in their choice and even lesser numbers preferred vegan food (20 percent).

The report also indicates that behavior changes and patterns might be driven more by necessity than by actual knowledge or health-consciousness.

The Harris Poll includes the results of a survey conducted online from 7-14 March with the participation of some 2,400 adults.