U.S. adults are trying their hardest to reach normalcy. Despite the usual holiday stress, concerns about inflation, and an ongoing pandemic, Americans are far more open to safe gatherings and travel this year. CivicScience reported that only 8% of Americans expect their holiday to be impacted by the pandemic. 

More Americans looking forward to celebrating the holidays likely explains why overall well-being has continued to increase during the holiday season, rising from 56.5% in November to 56.6% in December (as of December 19), which is in contrast to last year’s decrease from 57.3% in November to 56.5% in December.

Yet, CivicScience’s tracking shows significant differences in well-being by age. In general, adults aged 18-24 experienced less sharp rises and falls in well-being in 2022, but also reported lower well-being percentages than other generations. In January, Gen Z’s well-being started at 50.9% and is currently at 49.9%, whereas Boomers’ well-being kicked off the year at 59.8% and is currently much higher at 61.8%.

The holiday season is also synced with a division in well-being by age. While Boomer and Gen X age groups reported an increase in well-being from Thanksgiving on, Millennial well-being fell from 54% to 53%, and Gen Z steadily slid from 50.3% to 49.9%.

So, what’s causing this division? It could be the cold season’s triple spread threat of RSV, Flu, and COVID-19, or the increased stress younger adults are more likely to feel around the holidays, as CivicScience data shows that gift-buying is their greatest stressor. Additionally, stressors of the pandemic affected younger generations in substantial ways that we are just beginning to witness. For example, Gen Zers report that the pandemic complicated the potential to meet educational and professional goals, and the increase in depression in Gen Z has been widely covered.

To track differences in emotional well-being, check back next month. And if you want to better understand the impact of well-being on consumer choices, work with us.

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.