What is “well-being,” exactly? There are a number of definitions out there, but the American Psychological Association describes general well-being as “a state of happiness and contentment, with low levels of distress, overall good physical and mental health and outlook, or good quality of life.”  

There are also a number of different types of well-being, such as financial well-being and physical well-being. The CivicScience Well-Being Index looks specifically at emotional well-being, and does so by gauging how strongly a respondent reports that they feel certain emotions at any given time, such as happiness, sadness, and stress. Over time, we see the daily emotional pulse of the nation take shape as well-being rises and falls, sometimes abruptly. And we continue to discover how emotional well-being trends are connected to all sorts of behaviors.

Of course, the index also shows how differently people respond to things like global events, economic pressures, and even weather patterns, as well as highlights disparities that exist in well-being across segments of the population, including LGBTQ+ individuals. 

Recent survey results show that adults who identify as LGBTQ+ report lower emotional well-being on average than the Gen Pop. The well-being score so far for the month of June rests at 48% for LGBTQ+ adults, compared to 56% for the U.S. general population.

And while the emotional well-being of LGBTQ+ adults mostly mirrors the trendline of the Gen Pop, it does so at a significant difference of around seven percentage points, which is overall greater than the gap in well-being between women and the national average (+/- 3 ppts).

Well-Being by Region

Well-being tends to vary heavily by region. Over the last four months, well-being among LGBTQ+ individuals has been highest overall in the U.S. South followed by the Northeast, and lowest in the Midwest and West.

A look at individual emotional marker averages for the month of May shows that happiness was felt highest in the Northeast and South among LGBTQ+ adults. The Midwest had the lowest level of weekly self-reported happiness, where 47% reported little to none at all.

Well-Being by Age

Age also plays an important role in well-being, as young adults tend to report consistently lower overall emotional well-being on the index. The same is true for young LGBTQ+ adults.

When it comes to feelings of happiness specifically, adults under the age of 35 (Gen Pop) are more likely to say they felt stronger feelings of “happiness” over the past month compared to older adults. However, LGBTQ+ Gen Z and Millennial adults are significantly more likely to report less strong feelings of happiness than the average.

LGBTQ+ adults are also more likely to report feeling “fear” than the Gen Pop – another emotional marker on the index. More than half of Millennial and Gen Z LGBTQ+ adults report that they felt fear “very” or “somewhat” strongly over the past month. Feelings of fear are also far higher among LGBTQ+ Gen Xers.

Overall, the Well-Being Index reveals a large disparity in emotional well-being among LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S., which is likely reflective of the many challenges that many LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face today.

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.