What IS It That Makes Us Happy?

Although it is one of the simplest emotions, happiness can be hard to explain.

Who is happiest? And what IS it that makes us happy?

The Harris Poll set out to answer these and other questions with its periodic Harris Poll Happiness Index, an online survey of 2,019 U.S. adults.

In 2016, 31 percent of Americans say they are very happy, which is less than the 34 percent who felt this way just a year ago. In 2008, the first year the Happiness Index was conducted, 35 percent of Americans said they were very happy.

Among women, 33 percent say they are very happy, compared with the 29 percent of men who say the same thing.

What makes us happy--or unhappy? The percentage of respondents who strongly or somewhat agree:

  • I have positive relationships with my family members: 88 percent

  • My relationships with friends bring me happiness: 87 percent

  • I'm optimistic about the future: 72 percent

  • My spiritual beliefs are a positive guiding force to me: 66 percent

  • I frequently worry about my financial situation: 62 percent

  • I rarely worry about my health: 48 percent

  • My work is frustrating: 34 percent

  • I rarely engage in hobbies and pastimes I enjoy: 33 percent

--From the Editors at Netscape

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