Are You Thriving?

by | Aug 25, 2021


Many of us would say that the past eighteen months have been a test of our survival skills. With so much change, uncertainty, and fear, you may just be grateful to be standing today. Yet remarkably, the percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” on Gallup’s Life Evaluation Index reached a record high 59.2% this summer. More than half of us might say yes to questions that ask “are you thriving?”

The Gallup-Sharecare Well-being Index has been used since 2008 to track wellbeing across the United States. Here’s how Gallup describe the process:

The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index tracks daily how Americans evaluate their lives, both now and in five years, on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale, where “0” represents the worst possible life and “10” represents the best possible life. Respondents are classified by Gallup as “thriving” if they rate their current life a 7 or higher and their future life an 8 or higher. Respondents are classified as “suffering” if they rate their current life 0 to 4 and their future life 0 to 4. Those who are neither “thriving” nor “suffering” are classified as “struggling.”

In a world in which many of us have been coping with languishing for the past 18 months, Gallup has continued to ask “are you thriving?” to those they survey (though not in those direct words). Surprisingly, their most recent data shows that people are, in fact, thriving in record numbers. 

Wellbeing has historically ebbed and flowed with political, economic, and health challenges for the past 13 years. While the onset of COVID did bring wellbeing to an all-time low for a period of time, it made a significant rebound by June of 2021. 59.2% of adults land in the yes category when asked through a series of questions “are you thriving?”

In contrast, the percentage of Americans estimated to be “suffering” has remained steadily low throughout the pandemic and in line with pre-COVID estimates. 3.4% of respondents were classified as suffering during this same survey period. 

Some of the key contributors to the record high reporting of thriving wellbeing have been attributed to:  

  1. Availability and rollout of the COVID vaccines. 
  2. Economic reopening which is leading to improved economic conditions.
  3. Renewed social interactions and reuniting with family and friends for improved social wellbeing.

The data provided in this report measured how people were feeling this summer and how they are feeling about five years in the future. With the Delta variants’ impact being felt more acutely today than it was just a couple of months ago, however, it’s yet to be seen how these numbers hold in the next round of wellbeing assessment. 

As part of the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index, Gallup surveys approximately 10,000 U.S. adults aged 18 and older each month. The next several months may bring another shift in the wellbeing of Americans. Keep an eye on for the latest updates as Gallup continues to ask people “are you thriving?”

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