The new survey, which was taken this past spring of more than 2,000 adults living in related-family households, found that Americans gave their highest ratings to their health and community life: Overall health was rated as plus-100 on a scale of minus-200 to plus-200; community life was rated as plus-99.
Personal relationships with family and friends also scored a high average rating of plus-90.
The fourth domain — financial situations — had the lowest overall score of plus-66, no doubt a result of the recession and sluggish economy, according to the survey.
Still, most Americans rated their current financial situations as "at least 'good,' " and many said they expect things will get better in a year, it said.
The Reader's Digest survey confirms two constants about Americans — that they are deeply religious and genuinely optimistic about the future, said Karlyn Bowman, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a District-based conservative think tank.
However, paradoxes also emerge, she said. For instance, American families support having a strong U.S. military but they dislike sending troops overseas. Or, they like the idea of women joining the work force but they worry that having two working parents is bad for children.
By Cheryl Wetzstein
THE WASHINGTON TIMES