Emotional well-being among Americans has been rocky this year, to say the least. Between the onset of war in Ukraine (which took a heavy toll on well-being), the overturning of Roe v. Wade, multiple mass shootings, and rising gas prices and inflation, many U.S. adults have reported heightened levels of feeling stress, worry, fear and sadness, and less happiness and excitement throughout the year. 

That volatility can be seen across the CivicScience Well-Being Index, from reclaimed highs to plunging lows that have changed drastically from one week to the next. At the time of the last index reading, well-being was trending downward from mid-June to July and hovering well under levels felt at the very start of the year. 

Things may be turning around, however. July saw consistent week-over-week numbers in well-being, dipping during the first half of August, but still averaging well above lows felt earlier in the year. As of last week, well-being rose a solid 1.5 points to round out August at 57% – a high not felt since early May, which was short-lived at best.

The increase in well-being also coincides with improving economic sentiments, as tracked by the HPS-CivicScience Economic Sentiment Index. Americans reported increased confidence across all five economic indicators in the past two weeks, especially in finding a new job, followed by making major purchases.

Likewise, well-being rose across all income brackets in the second half of August. Perhaps falling gas prices have brought much-needed relief to households.

Since well-being correlates positively with consumer spending – and additional CivicScience data indicate that Americans are pulling back on reducing spending in most categories –  we expect to see this reflected in upcoming consumer spending data. Check back in next month for updates.

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.