Despite political differences, Americans are still happy

Survey highlights unity, differences among Americans

Survey findings include:

  • 68 percent of Americans expressed satisfaction with their lives.
  • Only 23 percent of those surveyed have a great deal of trust in the media.
  • 1 in 10 adults live in a home with unsecured and loaded firearms.
  • 56 percent of of those surveyed agree that recreational marijuana use should be legalized.

GREENVILLE, N.C. (7/80/2018) – Despite what social media may indicate, most Americans will still be able to enjoy each other’s company this Independence Day.

A team of researchers at East Carolina University has conducted a national survey that offers new insights into American public attitudes and behaviors on topics related to the nation’s founding principles.

The ECU Life, Liberty and Happiness Project is a nationwide survey of more than 1,100 Americans conducted in May and June by the Center for Survey Research at ECU using mail, internet and phone surveys to reach adults across the country. Results are weighted to be representative of the U.S. population.

“We asked Americans how satisfied they were with their own lives,” said Dr. Peter Francia, director of the ECU Center for Survey Research. “We found that 68 percent of the people that were surveyed reported that they were satisfied with their lives. So in an environment where we often hear about partisan rancor, nastiness and divisiveness in American society, it turns out that large majorities of Americans report that they are satisfied with their lives.”

The project’s purpose is to highlight shared experiences among Americans as well as identify differences.

  • Life: Examines questions related to opioid use, firearm safety and social behaviors.
  • Liberty: Involves questions concerning attitudes on issues related to free speech, religion, the press, gun laws, taxation and personal freedom.
  • Happiness: Explores topics like financial security and opportunity, optimism for the future, self-esteem and satisfaction with life.

The inaugural Life, Liberty and Happiness Project shows a general sense of happiness and satisfaction with life among a majority of Americans, shared concerns about health care and taxes, and skepticism of the press, while revealing stark divides on free speech, guns and marijuana, as well as divisions along socioeconomic and racial lines.

Additional survey highlights:

  • 83 percent of Americans agree that denying gun sales to those convicted of domestic violence and fail mental health checks would reduce mass shootings.
  • 60 percent of Americans believe taxes on the middle class are too high.
  • 56 percent of those surveyed agree that recreational marijuana use should be legalized (64 percent Democrat/47 percent Republican).

For more information visit

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ECU News Services
Howard House, 1001 E. Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-328-6481

Contact: Jamie Smith, ECU News Services, 252-328-6481