Every month, CivicScience checks in on the emotional well-being of Americans through ongoing monitoring of the CivicScience Well-Being Index. The index calculates the well-being of the nation through a series of distinct survey questions that asks respondents to report on feelings of certain emotions, such as happiness, stress, and sadness.

With this month bringing Fourth of July celebrations, one might have anticipated an upswing in well-being. However, the index shows that emotional well-being plummeted during the last week of June, coinciding with the overturn of Roe v. Wade on June 24 and casting a shadow over holiday festivities. Well-being continued to fall into the first week of July, during which the Highland Park mass shooting occurred in Illinois and several other incidents across the country.

The latest data further establishes a strong connection between emotional well-being and changes to reproductive laws. Well-being plunged at the beginning of May, when the Supreme Court document was leaked.

In fact, the data show that the most recent fall in well-being within the past two weeks was largely felt by women. The well-being average among women nosedived with the announcement of the overturn of Roe, whereas men’s well-being rose. However, interestingly, women’s well-being has since recovered slightly while men’s well-being now trends downward. Looking at the past year, these kinds of deviations appear to be rare between women and men.

A look at the emotional markers measured by the Well-Being Index shows that stress levels have remained high over the course of the year and are unlikely to fall any time soon, bringing down the overall emotional well-being of the Gen Pop. The APA attributes prolonged inflation as a leading cause of high stress among Americans. Also, Americans are more likely to feel an ongoing sense of fear compared to the beginning of the year.

Although Americans across all income levels are feeling scathed by high prices, and while many begin to eat away pandemic-shored savings, the data show that income clearly correlates with well-being. Households earning $150K or above annually report the highest sense of emotional well-being, whereas well-being among the lowest-earning households (less than $50K/year) is significantly lower, by a difference of 13 points.

It’s important to note that households earning $100K or higher annually are feeling an increasing sense of well-being. On the other hand, well-being is on the decline for households that earn $100K or less per year, highlighting the toll that inflation and gas prices are having on the majority of American households. This also suggests that middle- and lower-income households are likely to further rein in spending, as consumer spending tends to correlate positively with emotional well-being. 

What is the CivicScience Well-Being Index? 

Everything affects everything – that includes how a person feels at any given moment in time. The CivicScience Well-Being Index rapidly captures the collective emotional well-being of the population on a daily basis by asking thousands of survey respondents to report on how strongly they feel different emotions. Through living indexes like the Well-Being Index, CivicScience helps businesses and organizations better understand what’s driving consumer choices, empowering them with the data-driven insight needed to navigate our rapidly changing times.