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Hello darkness, my old friend: New research says Americans are becoming unhappier

A unhappy woman sitting on her bed.
A unhappy woman sitting on her bed.
Photographer is my life/Getty Images

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United States residents are more unhappy than before, according to new research from the World Happiness Report.

The researchers used data from the Gallup World Poll and ranked happiness across 156 countries based on six variables: per capita GDP, “life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and corruption.” The United States ranked number 19, dropping for the third year in a row. Life satisfaction dropped 6% between 2007 and 2018. The researchers noted that the decline in happiness could be attributed to the use of digital and social media among American youth, as well as the opioid epidemic and other addictions such as gambling and substance abuse, among others.

Similar data from the General Social Survey found that Americans rated their happiness at an average of 2.18 on a scale of 1 to 3, 1 being “not too happy” and 3 representing “very happy.”

So why are Americans increasingly less happy? Do you notice overall happiness in the United States declining? What about in your immediate environment? Weigh in and call us at 866-893-5722 or comment below.


John F. Helliwell, co-editor of the World Happiness Report and professor of economics at the University of British Columbia