Half of Americans are calling 2021 the “worst year of their lives so far”.

Our survey of 1,000 adults — conducted on December 13 — found that 53% said it had been a very unpleasant year for them. 

However, seven in 10 have high hopes that 2022 will be an improvement over the previous year. 

Millennials (ages 25 to 40) were the most dismissive of 2021, with 66% saying it was a tough year.

Sixty-two percent of Gen Zers (ages 18 to 24) and 43% of Gen Xers (ages 41 to 56) also shared that 2021 wasn’t their best year, while 56% of boomers (ages 57+) disagreed entirely.

When asked about their overall outlook on life, nearly eight in 10 of those surveyed (78%) describe themselves as optimists.

Meanwhile, 61% also identified as idealists, who “envision things as they could be,” while 19% preferred to be realists, who “see things as they are.”

Of those polled, male respondents considered themselves more optimistic (83% vs. 75%) and more idealistic (67% vs. 57%) than female respondents. 

Three-quarters of men (75%) also reported being hopeful for 2022, compared to only two-thirds of women (67%).

2021 worst year of their lives

This OnePoll online survey was conducted on December 13th 2021, with 1,000 adults. As members of AAPOR – the American Association for Public Opinion Research, OnePoll researchers adhere to the principles and actions set out in the AAPOR Code.