UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 10, 2021

Tracking the Emotional State of Americans
A monthly look at how moods are shifting throughout the country

By Sarah Green and Peyton Shelburne

 

Each week, Morning Consult asks a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults whether they are happy, angry, tired, optimistic, scared and a range of other emotions. This dataset, which will be released on a monthly basis, provides real-time insight into the shifting mood of the country, including breakdowns by age, gender, class and politics. The latest results have a margin of error of 2 percentage points, and are based on a survey conducted Sept. 1-5, 2021, among 2,200 U.S. adults

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Women report feeling significantly more scared than men: In the latest survey, there was an 18-point gap between the share of women (46%) and men (28%) who report feeling scared, the largest gap since tracking began. The share of women who felt scared jumped 7 percentage points since last month and is at the highest point since mid-January.

Optimism about the future of the U.S. and the world dips to lowest point of 2021: American optimism about both the future of the world (47%) and the future of the U.S. (50%) dipped to the lowest level of the year and since tracking began last October. About 7 in 10 Americans are still optimistic about their future personal well-being. 

Gen Z is 9 points more likely than any other generation to report feeling sad: In the latest survey, 54% of Gen Zers reported feeling sad, 13 percentage points higher than the rate among all adults, and 19 points higher than baby boomers. Additionally, 2 in 3 Gen Zers report feeling tired, 12 points higher than baby boomers. 

Americans tend to feel positive emotions, but most are nonetheless ready for change: In general, Americans are more likely to say they feel positive emotions, such as “happy” or “content,” than negative emotions, such as “angry” or “sad.” However, the emotion that most Americans associate with is “ready for change,” as 78% say this sentiment describes their personal mood “somewhat” or “very” well.

Americans Tend to Feel Positive Emotions More Than Negative Ones
The share of U.S. adults who said that the following described their personal mood either “very well” or “somewhat well”:
This chart shows the combined average share of adults who say they feel positive emotions (happy, energized, content and optimistic) and negative emotions (angry, anxious, tired, sad and scared).

Gen Z Reports Feeling More Sad and Tired Than Any Other Generation
The share of respondents who said that the following described their personal mood “very well” or “somewhat well”:

Women Report Feeling Significantly More Scared and Tired Than Men
The share of respondents who said that the following described their personal mood “very well” or “somewhat well”:

Women Are 18 Points More Likely Than Men to Report Feeling Scared
The share of female and male U.S. adults who said that “scared” described their personal mood “very well” or “somewhat well”:

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans are Ready for Change, Regardless of Political Party
The share of U.S. adults who said that “ready for change” described their personal mood “very well” or “somewhat well”:

Optimism About the Future of the U.S. and the World Dips to Lowest Point Since Tracking Began
The share of U.S. adults who said that they were “very optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” about the following:

Higher-Income Earners and Well-Educated Adults Are More Optimistic About Their Future Personal Well-Being
The share of U.S. adults who said that they were “very optimistic” or “somewhat optimistic” about their future personal well-being.

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