Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, more than half of Americans consider their health and well-being to have improved, according to recently published data.
Gallup and Healthways have been tracking life evaluations of Americans for nine years. During former President George W. Bush’s final year in office, 48.9 percent of Americans considered their lives to be thriving. In 2016, Obama’s final year as president, 55.4 percent say they are thriving -- an increase of 6.5 percent.
In 2009, Obama’s first year as president, 51.6 percent of Americans said they were thriving. Over his eight years as president, nearly 4 percent more Americans feel their lives have improved.
The survey information is gathered using a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. There are three categories: thriving; struggling; and suffering. A respondent who rates their present life a 7 or higher and their five-year future life forecast an 8 or higher is considered to be thriving.
During Obama’s two terms, the thriving percentage remained around 53 percent until 2014 when it grew to 54 percent. In 2015, the percentage rose to 55.1 -- a record high.
So far in 2016, all races have improved life evaluations from nine years ago. The number of Asians who are thriving has grown from 52.8 percent to 62.8 percent. Thriving blacks in 2008 was 46.8 percent; in 2016, it is 53.2 percent. Both Hispanics and whites have had a thriving increase of 6.5 percent over the same time period.
Gallup and Healthways predict 2016 will mark another record high for thriving on the life evaluations scale.
While life evaluations may be improving, Gallup finds that the number of Americans who rate their own health as excellent has decreased since 2008, the year before Obama took office.
That year, 22.6 percent of adult Americans rated their health as excellent. In 2016, 19 percent said the same.
The latest drop in excellent health is seen mostly among those aged 45 and below, and affected every race -- whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians.
The amount of Americans who find their health to be poor or fair has remained steady since 2008, at around 20 percent.