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Americans remain thankful despite challenges of 2020

Family tops the list of things Americans are thankful for this holiday season, according to a new survey from Lifeway Research. More than four in five said they are thankful for their family.

Sizable majorities also note being thankful for health (69 percent), friends (63 percent) and memories (63 percent). Around half-point to personal freedom (53 percent) and stability (47 percent). More than two in five are thankful for fun experiences (45 percent) and opportunities (42 percent). One-third of Americans will spend Thanksgiving being grateful for their achievements (33 percent), while one in five (21 percent) express thankfulness for their wealth.

“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.”

Four years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent social distancing guidelines and regulations, more Americans said they were thankful for health (77 percent to 69 percent in 2020) and personal freedom (72 percent to 53 percent). Other choices that also saw significant decreases from 2016 to 2020 include friends (71 percent to 63 percent), opportunities (59 percent to 42 percent), fun experiences (53 percent to 45 percent), achievements (51 percent to 33 percent) and wealth (32 percent to 21 percent).

Compared to other Americans, those with evangelical beliefs are more likely to say they are thankful for family (90 percent to 82 percent), health (80 percent to 66 percent), personal freedoms (69 percent to 50 percent), memories (68 percent to 61 percent), stability (56 percent to 45 percent), opportunities (56 percent to 38 percent) and achievements (38 percent to 31 percent).

Most said they express their gratitude toward their family and God. Around two in three said they typically give thanks to family, “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.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice