XM Institute has been tracking the sentiment of U.S. consumers as part of our ongoing consumer studies for more than a decade. To understand the overall quality of life of the U.S. population, we created the well-being index (WBi), which is the average of three measurements representing the percentage of American adults (18 and older) who agree with these statements:

  • I am typically happy
  •  I am healthy
  •  I am financially secure

Last year, in our analysis of the well-being disparity between ethnicities, we found that African Americans had the lowest well-being index score and saw the most dramatic decline in well-being between 2019 and 2020. Asian and Hispanic well-being scores also dipped, while Caucasians’ well-being rose slightly. When examining our Q3 2021 data, we found that:


  • Well-being improved for most segments… Overall well-being rose four percentage-points for African Americans after its fall in 2020 and rose five percentage-points among Asian Americans. 
  • …except for Hispanics. In 2021, overall well-being dropped another point from 2020 for Hispanics, bringing their WBi to a score of 58% – the same as African Americans. 
  • Financial security continues to be the largest gap between groups. Fifty-four percent of Caucasians report they are financially secure, which is 12 points higher than African Americans – the same size gap as in 2020. 
  • The health component saw the greatest increase. While scores for happiness and financial security did tick up from 2020 to 2021, these were smaller than the gains in feeling healthy; both African Americans and Asians saw an eight-point gain in the health component year-over-year. 


This data comes from XM Institute’s U.S. consumer studies, and results are analyzed based on self-described ethnicity. We set sample quotas to be demographically representative to the U.S. population for gender, age, income, and region, in addition to ethnicity. The 2021 data comes from 9,055 respondents in our XM Institute Q3 2021 U.S. Consumer Study.  


The bottom line: Well-being continues to be unevenly distributed across the U.S. population.

Bruce Temkin, XMP, CCXP, is the Head of Qualtrics XM Institute

Talia Quaadgras is a Senior Research Associate with Qualtrics XM Institute