Aug 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Poll: Americans categorized as "suffering" reaches record high

Customers shop at a supermarket in Millbrae, California, the United States, Aug. 10, 2022
Customers shop at a supermarket in Millbrae, Calif., on Aug. 10. Photo: Li Jianguo/Xinhua via Getty Images

The percentage of Americans classified as "suffering" reached its highest level on record last month, per a Gallup survey released Monday.

Driving the news: 5.6% of Americans said they are "suffering" in July, up from the previous high of 4.8% measured in April.

  • July's result is also higher than all previous estimates during the COVID-19 era, per Gallup.

The big picture: The percentage of U.S. adults classified as "thriving" has declined steadily since it reached a record high of 59.2% in June 2021.

  • July's estimate of 51.2% adults classified as "thriving" is an 18-month low, per Gallup.
  • The percentage of Republicans who are classified as suffering has doubled since June 2021, Gallup found, and among Democrats, it has jumped to 5.4%, almost double the 2.9% from a year ago.
  • In addition to general life ratings, the percentage of Americans who report experiencing stress is up to 48%, compared with 43% in July 2021.
  • Gallup began asking the life quality question in 2008, when, during the Great Recession, about 3.8% of Americans were categorized as suffering.

Between the lines: Gallup classifies Americans as "thriving," "struggling" or "suffering" based on how respondents rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale from zero to 10.

  • Respondents who rate both their current and future lives a 4 or lower are classified as suffering, while those who rate their current life a 7 or higher are classified as thriving.

State of play: "Economic conditions are likely a major contributing factor to these worsening scores," Gallup notes.

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