Are Americans Truly Happy?

Logan Liddiard, Staff Writer

    Are Americans truly happy? How can you measure something of that sort? Happiness can differ from person to person. By definition, the state of being happy is the feeling of pleasure and contentment. Measuring happiness can be measured in different ways, depending on how you define it.

    The 40-nation Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) does a study every year called the well-being study. These studies are measured on a wide variety of things.

    They have found out of the past ten years, the average well-being of their subjects they tested are lower than average from 2007-2017. On a scale from one to ten, subjects were asked to rate themselves on how well they were doing overall. The average was rated 6.9, which has declined over the past ten years from 7.3. This is twice as large as the average decline, according to the OECD.

    Happiness can also be measured on other things as well, such as when basic human needs for human satisfaction are mostly met. The United States reported that the poverty percentage in 2017 were at 12.3%. However, the Urban institution had conducted a study that showed that almost 40% of adults are struggling to provide basic needs for themselves and/or their families. These basic needs include: housing, healthcare, food, or utilities, even though the country is at a 4% unemployment rate as of 2019, according to the National State Conference of State Legislators.

    For 40% of Americans, they are stressed over basic day to day living, which typically wouldn’t make one as happy as they could be for obvious reasons.

    USA Today wrote an article about how happy Americans were with their jobs and work life in September of 2018. They showed a report released in August of the same year from The Conference Board. The report had shown a survey of 1,500 people being questioned about their job. They found that 51% of Americans were satisfied with their jobs. Satisfaction in the workplace is almost split down the middle.

    So the answer to if Americans are happy may vary. When you look at the charts and analysis the data, it shows that overall you could say we’re doing alright. Despite showing a decline in average well being, studies show that in the categories of wealth, jobs, housing, perceived health, and educational attainment, we are improving.

    Not all is lost, because there is still plenty of opportunity for change among American well being. Change begins inside of all of us.