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Surveys Show Stress, Sadness, Worry on the Rise

The General Social Survey asks people to rate their happiness levels. Between 1990 and 2018 the share of Americans who put themselves in the lowest happiness category increased by more than 50 percent. And that was before the pandemic.

The really bad news is abroad. Each year Gallup surveys roughly 150,000 people in over 140 countries about their emotional lives. Experiences of negative emotions—related to stress, sadness, anger, worry, and physical pain—hit a record high in (2021).

Gallup asks people in this survey to rate their lives on a scale from zero to 10, with zero meaning you’re living your worst possible life and 10 meaning you’re living your best. Sixteen years ago, only 1.6 percent of people worldwide rated their life as a zero. As of (2021), the share of people reporting the worst possible lives has more than quadrupled.

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