LOUDONVILLE — Just 27 percent of New Yorkers are more satisfied with their life today than they were a year ago. Thirty-three percent are less satisfied and 39 percent are as satisfied today as a year ago, according to a poll by the Siena College Research Institute.
SCRI last conducted the survey in 2018 and found 44 percent being more satisfied and 17 percent less so.
“In 2018 we noted a decline in New Yorkers life satisfaction from 2008 when we first asked these questions, but after Covid, political turmoil and now inflation, we see a significant drop among state residents in every category of life satisfaction,” said SCRI Director Don Levy. “It has been a trying time for many New Yorkers. When considering all residents we see the largest drops in satisfaction with family relationships, where they live, their finances, what they do for work and their health.”
The poll asked New Yorkers to gauge their satisfaction in 11 aspects of life (see chart.)
Most respondents, 74, were somewhat or completely satisfied with their relationships with their family followed by 71.7 percent who say they are somewhat or completely satisfied with their relationships with their friends and 72.8 percent say they are happy with their partner or significant other. That is down across the board, though, from 2018 when 81.2 percent were satisfied with their familial relationships, 76.3 were happy with their friends and 77.3 were satisfied with their significant others.
In 2008, the first time SCRI asked the questions, 82.9 were satisfied with family, 79.6 were satisfied with friends and 77.3 with their significant others.
The majority, 68.9 percent, percent say they are completely or somewhat satisfied where they live, but it is down from 76 percent in 2018 and 80.7 percent in 2008.
More than 74 percent say they are happy with their spiritual life (down from 78 percent in 2018 and 2008) and 63 percent say they are satisfied with their health (down from 68.1 percent in 2018 and 72 percent in 2008.)
On the other end of the spectrum, just 49.5 percent are somewhat or completely satisfied with their financial condition (down from 54.9 percent in 2018 and 57.5 percent in 2008.) Forty-six percent say they are not very or not at all satisfied, up from 34 percent in 2018.
Three quarters of those polled say they are not very or not at all satisfied with the worlds as a whole — including political, economic, social and environmental issues and trends — and the direction everything out of their direct control is heading.
Twenty-four percent, down from 33 percent in 2018, are completely satisfied with their work, while another 40 percent are somewhat satisfied. Twenty-six percent, virtually unchanged, are completely satisfied with what they do for recreation including physical activities, travel or other activities and another 31.8 percent are somewhat satisfied.
“While every area of life satisfaction is down across New Yorkers, the highest levels of satisfaction, those areas that give us comfort remain our relationships with others and our religious or spiritual life,” Levy said.
To compare satisfaction across the 11 areas over time and today between various groups SCRI computed scores based on whether a respondent said they were completely, somewhat, not very or not at all satisfied. A score of 100 means every person said they were completely satisfied and a score of zero would mean every person said that they were not at all satisfied. The ‘Total Overall Score’ is the average of the possible scores across all 11 areas.
Slightly more males were satisfied with their lives than women, 65 percent to 61 percent while those younger were less so.
“While overall satisfaction has fallen for both men and women in New York, today women are less satisfied with their lives than are men — a change from 2018. Since 2018, men’s satisfaction with recreational activities rose significantly and their satisfaction with friends and acquaintances rose slightly,” Levy said. “Among women no area measured increased satisfaction over the four years with the largest decline in family relationships perhaps due to Covid keeping people apart. Women also expressed less satisfaction than men with their financial condition, their work, their health, their relationship with a life partner and the direction of the world.”
According to the poll age also played a factor in satisfaction:,
Just 59 percent of the respondents between the ages of 18 to 34 were satisfied (down from 65 percent in 2018 and 70 percent in 2008.)
62 percent of those between 35 and 49 were satisfied (down from 70 percent in 2018 and 2008.)
61 percent of those between 50 and 64 were satisfied (down from 67 percent in 2018 and 69 percent in 2008)
68 percent of those older than 65 were satisfied (down from 73 percent in 2018 and 2008.)
“And it does seem that money makes you more satisfied as those earning $100,000 or more are more satisfied than those earning less than $50,000 in not only the financial condition category but in every other category as well,” Levy said.
Seventy percent of those making more than $100,000 reported being satisfied while 61 percent making between $50,000 and $100,000 reported the same. Fifty-six percent of those making less than $50,000 reported being satisfied.
“The racial satisfaction gap is striking. Overall satisfaction among blacks at 59 percent is the lowest of any racial or ethnic group,” Levy said “Interestingly, while overall satisfaction among Blacks is unchanged and lower than that of whites or Latinos, satisfaction among Blacks did increase on the condition of the world from 21 percent in 2018 to 32 percent today and Blacks expressed increasing satisfaction towards their finances, recreation, community and their health.”
Other findings include:
Slightly more Republicans report being satisfied in 2022 than Democrats, 65.3 percent to 64.5. In 2018, when 73.6 percent of Republicans say they were satisfied compared to 67.8 percent of Democrats.
More people of the Jewish faith were satisfied, 66.2 percent, than Catholics, 65.1 percent, and Protestants, 63.7. Sixty-five percent of those of “other” faith were satisfied. The number of Jews satisfied with their life fell the most from 2018 when 76.3 percent reported being satisfied with their life. In 2018, 69.9 percent of Catholics were satisfied and 69.3 percent of Protestants reported the same.
Nearly the same number of people living in different regions of the state — New York City, the suburbs and upstate — reported satisfaction. In New York City, 62.4 percent were satisfied, down from 66 percent in 2018. Sixty-three percent of those living in the suburbs reported being satisfied in 2022, compared to 69 percent in 2018. And in upstate, 63 percent report being satisfied compared to 69 percent in 2018 and 71.7 percent in 2008.
The Siena poll was conducted from June 14 to June 27 by making random telephone calls to 401 New Yorkers. The overall results have an margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.