Americans are feeling good about their country, part of a six-year positive trend, according to newly released Gallup polling that measured individual perceptions on current and future living standards.
America’s Standard Of Living Index, which mark the number of people who feel overall satisfaction with their lives, climbed to 47 in May, a six-year high. That number is up slightly from 44 recorded in April.
Gallup’s numbers are the highest reported level of confidence since the pollsters began tracking this measure in 2008.
After reaching record lows of 14 (out of 100), measured during the grip of the Great Recession in October and November 2008, the Standard of Living Index has wavered but steadily moved upward. The index dipped to 34 in October 2013— around the time of the U.S. federal government shutdown — but has largely increased since.
Gallup calculates the Standard of Living Index by combining responses to two questions: whether they are satisfied with their current standard of living, and whether their standard of living is getting better or worse.
The index ranges from a theoretical maximum of 100 — which would occur if all respondents say they are satisfied with their standard of living and say it is getting better — and the theoretical minimum of -100, if respondents answered negatively to both questions.
In May, eight in ten of Americans responded that they were satisfied with their standard of living, with only 20% saying they were dissatisfied. That gives a net current satisfaction score of 60, which is also a record high.
Looking to the future, 59% of Americans say are optimistic, and believe their standard of living is getting better – another record high – while 26% said it was getting worse. With a net expectation score of 33, that too is the highest in the six-year history of the Standard of Living Index.
High optimism among Americans is in stark contrast to October 2008, during the global financial crisis, when only 33% said their standard of living was getting better; 47% said it was getting worse. Both numbers were record lows, as was the 14 index.
Helping fuel the sunny economic outlook is the belief that job creation had increased, feelings that reached high numbers in May. Americans also said they spent more money in May, as well as reporting that they feel better about the country’s current and future economic health.
One lingering question is how long this confidence will last as the year progresses.
The Standard of Living Index poll was conducted May 1-31, based on telephone interviews of the Gallup Daily tracking survey, using a random sample of 3,103 adults, aged 18 and older, living in 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
The survey’s margin of error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.