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Americans' stress, worry and anger intensified in 2018

Americans are among the most stressed-out people in the world, according to Gallup's annual "Global Emotions" survey

Posted: Apr 28, 2019 3:35 PM
Updated: Apr 28, 2019 3:36 PM

The Gallup Poll survey provides a current snapshot of people's positive and negative daily experiences based on more than 151,000 interviews with adults in over 140 countries in 2018.

Representing the views of citizens from more than 140 countries and areas, this study measures life's intangibles -- feelings and emotions -- that traditional economic indicators such as GDP were never intended to capture.

Each index equips global leaders with insights into the health of their societies that they cannot gather from economic measures alone. For example, even as the U.S. economy was growing, more Americans were stressed, angry and worried.

Americans among the most stressed in the world

Each of these figures matches or tops previous highs in the U.S. Additionally, Gallup's latest annual update on the world's emotional state shows Americans were more likely to be stressed and worried than much of the world. In fact, the 55% of Americans who experienced stress was one of the highest rates out of the 143 countries studied and it beat the global average (35%) by a full 20 percentage points. The U.S. even ties statistically with Greece, which has led the world on this measure every year since 2012.

When it comes to worry, the six-point gap between the U.S. (45%) and the global average (39%) was not nearly as substantial as it was with stress. The U.S. was also far from the top of the list of countries with the largest worried populations. In 29 countries, a majority of people said they worried a lot the previous day, including at least six in 10 in places such as Mozambique (63%), Chad (61%) and Benin (60%).

And, even though more Americans were angry last year than most years in the past, the 22% who were angry was the same as the global average. Americans, as a whole, were half as likely to be angry as the populations of the Palestinian Territories (43%), Iran (43%), Iraq (44%), and Armenia (45%).

Which Americans Are Most Stressed, Worried or Angry?

Younger Americans between the ages of 15 and 49 are among the most stressed, worried and angry in the U.S. Roughly two in three of those younger than 50 said they experienced stress a lot, about half said they felt worried a lot and at least one in four or more felt anger a lot.

Income and Stress in America

Income also plays a role with worry and stress, with the lowest income Americans carrying more of the emotional burden than the highest income Americans. Nearly seven in 10 Americans in the poorest 20% of the population said they experienced stress the previous day, compared with less than half (48%) of Americans in the richest 20%. Similarly, 56% of Americans in the poorest group said they worried a lot, compared with 41% in the richest group.

Stress, Worry and Political Affiliation

And, although Gallup does not ask about political affiliation in its World Poll, there was also a strong relationship between stress, worry and disapproval of the job that President Donald Trump is doing. Those who disapprove of Trump's job performance are significantly more likely to experience each of these negative emotions than those who do.

(From the Gallup 2019 Global Emotions report by Julie Ray)

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