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A recently released report of the General Social Survey, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, shows that for the first time since 1972, more Americans say that their financial situation has gotten worse in recent years rather than better. Understandably, also for the first time since 1972, the percentage of Americans saying that they are "not at all" satisfied with their financial situation (31.5%) notably exceeds those saying they are "pretty well" satisfied (23.4%).
The 2010 data also indicate that Americans are more insecure about employment. A record percentage (16.4%) thought that it was "very likely" or "fairly likely" that they would lose their job or be laid off. Likewise, only slightly more than half (52.2%) thought it "not at all likely" that they would lose their job or be laid off, the lowest percentage ever recorded by the GSS by a substantial margin. The percentage of those who thought their standard of living was "much better" or "somewhat better" than their parents declined.
In a second report released simultaneously, American "happiness" took a hit. Only 28.8%, the lowest percentage since 1972, said they were "very happy" while the "not too happy" group, at 14.2%, was the highest since 1973. Overall, however, 85.8% of Americans report to being "very happy" or "pretty happy".