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This Thanksgiving Just One-third of Americans Have More to be Thankful For Than a Few Years Ago

Yet large majorities say they are thankful for the health of their family, their family relationships and technology which makes it easy to keep in touch

NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- 2011 has proven to be a difficult year for the U.S. and many Americans—the economy continues to be shaky, unemployment remains high, people are unhappy with their political leaders, and many have been affected by a series of damaging natural disasters.  Considering the circumstances it may not be surprising that only a third of U.S. adults say that they will have more to be thankful for this Thanksgiving than they had a few years ago (32%).  Over two in five say they will have about as much to be thankful for this year as they had a few years ago (45%), which is slightly more than said so last year (41%).  One in five say they will have less to be thankful for (18%) and 5% are not sure.  

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100517/NY06256LOGO)

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

When asked to think about their overall feelings this Thanksgiving compared to a few years ago many Americans don't seem particularly grateful, yet when asked about specific items, the image displays differently:

  • Over five in six Americans say they will feel thankful this Thanksgiving both for the health of their family (85%) and because of their family relationships (85%);
  • Three quarters say they will feel thankful because technology makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends (74%) and two thirds say they are thankful that good technology is easily accessible (63%).
  • While unemployment and underemployment remain prevalent, Americans seem thankful for their situation, even if it may not be ideal as 63% say they feel thankful for their own personal economic situation and a similar number say so for their work situation (61%).
  • A majority of Americans also note that they are thankful it is safe to walk on the streets (56%).
  • An item that Americans are divided about is the way people treat each other – 36% say they feel thankful for this while 40% do not;
  • And, the one item on the list that a majority of Americans say they do not feel thankful for is, predictably, the economic situation in the U.S., which 67% say they do not feel thankful for, 14% feel thankful for and 19% are not sure.

So What?

It is interesting to note that older Americans feel significantly more thankful than those younger about a number of items, including those regarding family, health, relationships, work and finances.  It's possible that those older have had more life experience, both good and bad, and therefore have more perspective on feeling thankful for what they have, since they understand things could always be worse.  All Americans, regardless of age, should take time this Thanksgiving holiday, between the food and festivities, to think about their life and feel thankful for what they have and have accomplished—aspiring for more or wishing for better is not mutually exclusive with being thankful for the good things you have.

TABLE 1A

THANKFULNESS -- TREND

"This Thanksgiving, do you feel you will have more to be thankful for than a few
years ago, less to be thankful for, or about as much to be thankful for as you had
then?"

Base: All adults



1974

1980

1983

2010*

2011

%

%

%

%

%

About as much to be thankful for

45

47

35

41

45

More to be thankful for

38

37

50

41

32

Less to be thankful for

15

15

13

13

18

Not sure

2

1

2

5

5



Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; *Prior to this year, this question was asked by telephone



TABLE 1B

THANKFULNESS – BY GENERATION AND EDUCATION

"This Thanksgiving, do you feel you will have more to be thankful for than a few years ago, less to be thankful for, or about as much to be
thankful for as you had then?"

Base: All adults



Total

Generation

Education

Echo Boomers 18-34

Gen. X

35-46

Baby Boomers

47-65

Matures

66+

H.S. or less

Some college

College grad

Post grad

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

About as much to be thankful for

45

40

45

46

51

49

42

44

38

More to be thankful for

32

38

29

34

21

26

32

39

42

Less to be thankful for

18

15

18

18

26

18

22

12

19

Not sure

5

8

8

2

3

7

4

5

1



Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 1C

THANKFULNESS – BY REGION AND GENDER

"This Thanksgiving, do you feel you will have more to be thankful for than a few years ago, less to be thankful for, or about as
much to be thankful for as you had then?"

Base: All adults



Total

Region

Gender

East

Midwest

South

West

Male

Female

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

About as much to be thankful for

45

49

48

38

49

45

45

More to be thankful for

32

28

31

36

30

30

34

Less to be thankful for

18

17

17

20

17

20

17

Not sure

5

7

4

5

4

5

5



Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 2

THANKFUL FOR SPECIFIC ITEMS

"This Thanksgiving, will you feel thankful or not, for each of the following?"

Base: All adults



Thankful

Not Thankful

Not sure

%

%

%

Because of the health of your family

85

7

8

Because of your family relationships

85

8

8

Because technology makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends

74

11

15

Because good technology is easily accessible

66

13

21

Because of your own personal economic situation

63

25

12

Because of your work situation

61

23

16

Because it is safe to walk on the streets

56

24

20

Because of the way people treat each other

36

40

24

Because of the economic situation in the U.S.

14

67

19



Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 3

THANKFUL - TREND

"This Thanksgiving, will you feel thankful or not, for each of the following?"

Summary of those saying "thankful"

Base: All adults



1980

1983

1984

1985

1988

2010*

2011

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Because of the health of your family

96

NA

NA

NA

NA

86

85

Because of your family relationships

95

NA

NA

NA

NA

86

85

Because technology makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

78

74

Because good technology is easily accessible

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

69

66

Because of your own personal economic situation

81

NA

NA

NA

NA

66

63

Because of your work situation

78

NA

NA

NA

NA

65

61

Because it is safe to walk on the streets

NA

NA

50

NA

NA

63

56

Because of the way people treat each other

NA

42

55

NA

46

45

36

Because of the economic situation of the U.S.

32

58

78

69

59

23

14



Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; NA signifies this was not asked in that year; *Prior to 2010 this question was asked by telephone




TABLE 4

THANKFUL – BY GENERATION

"This Thanksgiving, will you feel thankful or not, for each of the following?"

Summary of those saying "thankful"

Base: All adults



Total

2011

Generation

Echo Boomers 18-34

Gen. X

35-46

Baby Boomers

47-65

Matures

66+

%

%

%

%

%

Because of the health of your family

85

78

83

88

92

Because of your family relationships

85

81

81

88

91

Because technology makes it easy to stay in touch with family and friends

74

70

67

76

85

Because good technology is easily accessible

66

66

60

67

74

Because of your own personal economic situation

63

59

58

65

71

Because of your work situation

61

55

57

67

65

Because it is safe to walk on the streets

56

59

54

56

52

Because of the way people treat each other

36

41

33

36

33

Because of the economic situation of the U.S.

14

18

10

16

6



Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 and 17, 2011 among 2,463 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

J40806
Q755, 760

The Harris Poll® #120, November 17, 2011
By Samantha Braverman, Sr. Project Researcher, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
[email protected]

SOURCE Harris Interactive

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