The life satisfaction of a society's population is important and can be impacted by many factors, one of which is the per capita fluctuations in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Another contributing and related factor to life satisfaction is an individual’s income and its impact on maintaining basic needs of food, housing, shelter, and health. This study focuses on the impact of changes in GDP per capita on life satisfaction and examines the different effects on income groups in the United States.
Data is drawn from the 2005 through 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS); GDP per capita information is retrieved from The Bureau of Labor Statistics. The impact of other social factors such as GDP per capita, income, employment status, sex, age, education level, race, marital status, metropolitan statistical area, survey year, number of children, and state of residence is also examined. The results of the study show that a change in GDP per capita influenced the life satisfaction of the respondent based on one’s employment status. Furthermore, the impact of a change in GDP per capita positively impacts the life satisfaction among the unemployed, but negatively impacts the life satisfaction of the employed. Additionally, this study finds that the GDP per capita of the previous year impacts the life satisfactions of respondents in the current year. Lastly, those who were categorized as being low-income or middle-income experienced lower life satisfaction than high-income individuals.