Gallup’s Standard of Living Index is on track for a 10-year high
Americans’ assessments of their standard of living are on track for a 10-year high, according to Gallup, with 80% of people satisfied and nearly two-thirds indicating it’s on the upswing. Republicans and folks 50 and up were particularly likely to see progress.
This boost in Gallup’s index — a composite of the questions “Right now, do you feel your standard of living is getting better or getting worse?” and “Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your standard of living, all the things you can buy and do?,” plus a “staying the same” option — was spurred by responses to the first question: 64% percent of people so far this year said their standard of living was improving, compared to 62% in 2016 and only 41% in 2008. (Satisfaction has held more constant, increasing moderately from 72% to 80% since 2008.)
The polling company’s Standard of Living Index is currently +54 this year out of a theoretical max of +100. That’s up from 2016’s +50 and 2015’s +49 — and a gradual upward trend from +23 in 2008, when Gallup created the index at the height of the Great Recession.
Along partisan lines, GOPers were most likely to see gains in standard-of-living outlook: The proportion of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents projecting a better standard of living jumped from 56% last year to 68% this year, a change Gallup attributed to the White House’s new Republican occupant. Democrats’ outlook, accordingly, decreased from 68% to 62% over the same period.
People 50 and older were also likelier this year than they were in 2016 to believe things were improving, while proportions of people who thought standard of living was improving increased across all household income levels. In terms of race and ethnicity, non-Hispanic white people were the only group to see an increase between 2016 to 2017; black people’s outlook decreased from 73% to 68%, and Hispanics’ dropped one point.
Overall, Gallup says, the polling indicates Americans’ “overwhelmingly positive” outlook and further evidence of the country’s recovery from recession across income levels. (Yet another indicator: median household income increased in 2016 to $59,039, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday — a 3.2% increase from a year earlier. The poverty rate decreased 0.8%.)
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