Editor's Note: Gallup re-estimated its Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index and Life Evaluation Index data from January 2008 to April 2009 to address context effects that Gallup discovered after the data were originally published.
In January, 41% of Americans said the economy is "getting better," matching the highest level of the past three years. Democrats, young people, and upper-income Americans were the most optimistic. Last month's sunnier outlook helped propel Gallup's Economic Confidence Index to a new high.
Just over half of Americans, 55%, believe they could live comfortably on something less than $75,000 a year. One in four say they would need a six-figure income, slightly more than the 16% already making that. Among gender/age groups, the gap between current and ideal income is greatest for younger women.