Feeling of freedom among Americans declines since 2006


The feeling of freedom among Americans has been declining since 2006. As per a recent study by Gallup, a social research organisation, 91% of Americans were satisfied with the freedom in their lives in 2006. Today, the satisfaction percentage is 75% only.

The study, however, couldn’t determine whether the 16 percent decline is a result of the citizens’ attitude towards the government or towards their own financial situation.

The report also notes that the decline in ‘feeling of freedom’ isn’t happening in other wealthy democratic nations. According to similar surveys conducted in Canada, Denmark, Finland and (for first in 2006), 96% of people in each country were satisfied with their freedom. At that time the US’s rank was 11th and all the above nations were ranked in the top 11 among 118 nations. However, the rank of US fell terribly in 2016 as it managed to get 71st rank in the study conducted within 139 countries.

Two things typically come to people’s mind when they think about their personal freedom:  their financial situation and the state of their government(s). Globally, GDP per capita and attitudes toward individual income are highly influential factors to determine how people feel about their freedom. This means people in wealthy nations are more likely than people in less wealthy countries to report being happy with their freedom.

In spite of widespread reports on the improvement of U.S. economy, many Americans may not be feeling the same economic gains in their daily lives: postulates the study. And despite unemployment dropping below 5%, the overall jobs scenario is not as rosy in America. The Economist finds that unemployment for 25- to 54-year-olds in America is worse than that of in France.

The general perception of corruption in government is also another major factor determining people’s feeling about their individual freedom. This theory seems to be true in the case of America.  With the declined satisfaction level of freedom, the belief that corruption is prevalent in the U.S. government has been increasing for a number of years.

This Gallup study is based upon telephonic as well as face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 or older, in over 150 nations, conducted between 2006 and 2016.