The ever-rising death toll from COVID-19 may be sobering, but Americans for the most part are worrying less about the coronavirus than they did in March, a new Gallup poll reveals.
When asked what emotions they experienced “during a lot of the day yesterday,” 47% of those reporting in the April 27 to May 10 timeframe chose “worry,” down from 59% of those who reported the same emotion during the March 23 to April 5 time period.
On the other hand, those experiencing “happiness” over the same time frame increased from 67% to 72%. “Boredom” decreased from 46% to 41%, and “loneliness” stayed the same at 24%.
Men and women are experiencing roughly the same levels of happiness, 73% and 71% respectively, but women report worrying more (51% – 44%) and experiencing loneliness at higher rates than men (27%-20%).
The old adage that “money can’t buy happiness” may not be quite true, according to the poll. Those making over $90,000 per year report significantly higher levels of happiness than those earning less than $36,000 (75% to 56%), while also reporting lower levels of worry, boredom and loneliness.
Marital status is also an important component of happiness, the numbers reveal. Married (77%) and Widowed (76%) respondents reported feeling “a lot of” happiness, more than their single (61%) and divorced (62%) counterparts.
Political leanings apparently make a difference in how people have felt, according to Gallup. Republicans (77%) and Independents (74%) report feeling slightly happier than Democrats (66%). These high numbers may be reflecting a level of optimism that didn’t exist even a couple weeks ago. When asked back on May 1 whether their general impression was that things were getting better, respondents’ answers were much more divergent: 73% of Republicans said “yes,” while only 35% of Independents and 22% of Democrats agreed.
No one knows, of course, how long, if ever, it will take for things to get back to “normal” – whatever the new “normal” might look like after the pandemic has run its course. While Americans aren’t walking around humming the Bobby McFerrin tune, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” just yet, it’s encouraging to see that we’re ever so slightly trending that way.