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Americans: Our standard of living best in decade

Staff Writer | September 13, 2017
Americans' ratings of their standard of living are on pace to be the best in Gallup's 10-year tracking history.
Americans happy family
America   The index was created in 2008
The index average for the year now stands at +54 - four points above last year's record-high +50.

On a monthly basis, Americans' perceptions of their standard of living have been particularly strong in the past two months, with the index averaging +56 in July and +55 in August.

In the first half of the year, monthly readings varied between +51 and +54.

The index was created in 2008 during the 2007-2009 Great Recession, helping explain why it has followed a generally upward path in the years since, as the U.S. economy gradually has recovered.

The index is a composite of answers to two questions: how satisfied Americans are with their current standard of living and whether they think their standard of living is getting better or getting worse - with "staying the same" a volunteered option.

This year's rise in the overall index is driven by an increase in Americans' outlook for their standard of living.

The percentage of Americans saying their standard of living is getting better has risen from 62% in 2016 to 64% so far this year, with a corresponding drop in the percentage saying it is getting worse, from 22% to 19%.

The strongly positive expectations Americans now have for their standard of living is a far cry from the situation in 2008, when as many thought their situation was getting worse as thought it was improving.