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The Good News: Survey Shows Most Americans Think Their Lives Are Better

September 12, 2016
Plain English Version
The streets of New York City. Photo credit: Surfdog

The streets of New York City. Photo credit: Surfdog

The bad news. The starting point for the survey is 2008. It was a year when America was in the middle of a bad recession. There is no way to know how much President Obama did to change things. But what happened since then, happened on his watch as the president.

There was a big survey conducted over the past eight years. These are the main findings.

Americans were down in the dumps in 2008. Just four out of 10 said their lives were improving. Today, six out 10 Americans say their lives have improved. And they say their standard of living has gotten better.

The findings were for all groups. It was especially true for minorities and for all income levels.

The survey asked people whether they felt they were “thriving.” Did they feel that they were living the “best possible life.” The percent that felt good went from less than half in 2008 to more than half today.

Race and politics played a role in the thriving survey. Black Democrats scored high and white Republicans scored low in the first four years. In the next four years the score for black Democrats went down and the score for white Republicans went up. Experts say it is because the economy improved for whites.

Health care has been a big issue. The number of uninsured people has gone way down in the past few years. Fewer people report that they are having trouble paying for health care. That is good news.

Eight years ago many people felt that health care costs were too high. The bad news is that many people feel the same way today.

But here is a real problem. More Americans report feeling less healthy today than eight years ago. Experts say the big reasons are diabetes and obesity. Still, it is only about two of every ten people who report feeling less healthy today.

The survey seems to answer one question on people’s minds. For the most part, things in America are changing for the better.

Source: The New York Times September

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