A pandemic apparently has led many Americans to reorient their life and to re-think what they are thankful for, a new LifeWay Research survey shows.
Compared to a similar poll in 2016, Americans today are about as likely to say they are thankful for family but less likely to say they are thankful for fun experiences, opportunities, achievements and wealth.
A total of 84 percent of Americans today say they are thankful for their family, a number similar to the 88 percent who answered that way in 2016.
“In a year that has been difficult for most, Americans still express a lot of thanks,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “This year of loss and division does not mean people have an absence of good things for which to be grateful.”
But only 45 percent in the survey say they are thankful for fun experiences, compared to 53 percent who answered that way in the earlier survey. A decline also was seen in the percent of Americans who say they are thankful for opportunities (42 percent this year; 59 percent in 2016), achievements (33 percent vs. 51 percent) and wealth (21 percent vs. 32 percent).
Americans are four times more likely to list “family” than “wealth.” In 2016, they were about 2.5 times as likely.
Other categories that saw a decline include health (69 percent vs. 77 percent in 2016), friends (63 percent vs. 71 percent) and personal freedom (53 percent vs. 72 percent).
Meanwhile, Americans say they typically give thanks on Thanksgiving to family (68 percent) and God (67 percent). Both are increases from 2016 when 57 percent said they give thanks to family and 63 percent said they give thanks to God. Only 16 percent say they give thanks to “myself.”
“Giving someone else thanks is not a given on Thanksgiving,” McConnell said. “But four times as many people give thanks to family or God than choose to thank themselves.”
The survey was conducted in September and based on interviews with 1,200 Americans.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.