Shocking Headline of the Day

Mo' money, less problems.

Pew Research Center: “Among Black adults, those with higher incomes are most likely to say they are happy.”

Well . . . yeah. I suspect that even Damon Wayans knew this.

Now, if they had juxtaposed this with a finding that it’s not true of Whites or other groups, it might have been an interesting finding. But it’s apparently just a survey of Black Americans.

Looking at the result breakdown

the most interesting finding to me is that Black adults are generally pretty happy regardless of income. Even among those who characterize themselves as low-income, only a fifth are less than somewhat happy. Again, how that compares to Whites in these income groups would be interesting to know.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tony W says:

    There is a tendency in white America to think of everyone as having status relative to us white folks. Therefore, it’s interesting to know how happy black folks are, but it would be more interesting when compared to white folks (the default).

    I submit that if it was a survey of white Americans discussing their happiness at various income levels, the discussion would be about how income affects happiness.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Considering the # of white Americans who are conservative, I suspect the # who are unhappy would be quite a bit larger. According to FOX news, Newsmax, OAN, Sinclair radio, etc etc etc, this country is on the very precipice of absolute disaster.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W: To the extent it’s interesting to study Black Americans as a subset of Americans, how they compare to other groups would seem rather salient. I would also take How happy are Black Americans in 2024 as compared to previous times? Data without context is simply not all that interesting.

  4. Scott F. says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Poll white Americans who are conservative and I suspect you’d find the number who are unhappy knowing that black Americans are happier compared to them to be extremely/very high.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    Next: Are healthy people happier than people with stage 4 cancer?

  6. steve says:

    I bet black people who receive millions of dollars in gifts from billionaire friends in return for small favors and they dont have to report it to their employer or to the IRS are really happy!


  7. James Joyner says:

    @steve: Indeed! The use of the Clarence Thomas image for the thumbnail was serendipitous—I searched by media archives for “happy” and found a picture of his smiling mug—but it was just too funny to pass up.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Funny you should ask. My brother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer early in 2020 and given 3-5 years to live. He more or less accepted his fate, but underwent treatment, just in case. During that period he got his things in order and was at peace. The initial treatments drove the cancer into remission and it never returned, this winter his Doc’s declared him cancer free. That was joyous, but it opened a large can of worms, a pandora’s box if you will, and now he faces a bunch of challenges and decisions, along with some significant depression, that he wouldn’t have faced w/o the cancer diagnoses.

    You could make a good case that he was happier knowing that he was to die sooner than later. Life, as it is said, is a bitch.

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    As soon as I posted that I thought for a minute and realized that I’m happier than at any period of my life, despite knowing the actuarial tables have me down to 13.6 years. Old age is sort of a proxy for disease, you do become more aware that this story has an end. I frame life as a series of jobs to be done and I’ve done most of what I needed to do, and more jobs = more stress. Life has been very forgiving of me, and very generous. So I’m weirdly OK with edging toward the Great Abyss. Zero complaints, Mr. Reaper.

  10. DrDaveT says:

    Was there a crosstab for “incarcerated”? Given that incarcerating black adults in the new National Pastime…

  11. Slugger says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m a little older than you are and have similar views. I see myself as in the last minute of the game. I’ve won and just have to take a couple of snaps and take a knee. The scoreboard looks good, and my fans-friends and family- are cheering. No reason to fear the clock!

  12. Richard Gardner says:

    Then there is the Pandora’s Box of “Black Adults.” In my area I’d say at least 20% of the “Blacks” have zero ties to America in 1865, immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa (cue Wylan Brothers In Living Color). My solidly Democratic city is ~13% African-American, 10% Asian, 11% Hispanic (cough, of those counted). The Mayor is black, the Police Chief (newhie) is black, the Fire Chief is black, the City Council is 33% black (11% Asian – friend of mine and a 1st, a Hispanic member = 11%).
    So I’d like to see the data separated into immigrants and natives as well.

  13. Tony W says:

    @Richard Gardner: You must be fun at konklaves.


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