Thanksgiving 2021: What are Americans thankful for?

Linley SandersSenior Data Journalist
November 24, 2021, 4:06 PM UTC

With the coronavirus pandemic having dominated the year once again, as we approach Thanksgiving, nearly nine in 10 American adults (88%) in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll say they are feeling thankful this year. The vast majority saying they are just as thankful or even more thankful than they were a year ago. 

What are Americans appreciative of this year? To find out, YouGov asked its members to say in their own words what they are thankful for this year. Those open-end responses (many of whom listed multiple reasons to be thankful) were sorted into categories and then weighted to be representative of all U.S. adult citizens. 

Two in five mentioned being thankful for family (41%), with one-third (33%) listing their health and the health of their family and friends as a reason to be grateful this year. About one in five (19%) are simply glad to be alive for another year. Many specifically mentioned gratitude that their family has survived – or not contracted – COVID-19. About 2% expressly note being thankful for COVID-19 vaccines. 

About one in 12 Americans (8%) are thankful for financial circumstances that have allowed them to get through the year, with many citing their continued employment as a reason to be grateful. One’s religion is another reason for giving thanks: 7% say they are thankful for their faith, God, or ability to attend church.

Many (6%) are thankful that their basic needs are being met, with housing and food being mentioned frequently. One in 20 (5%) appreciate their friends - many mentioned friends alongside family in their list of reasons to be content this year.

There are a few political mentions – about evenly divided between support and opposition to President Joe Biden and Democrats. But political reasons are far less important than giving thanks for health and family.  

See the toplines and crosstabs from this Economist/YouGov Poll

Methodology: The Economist survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,500 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between November 14 and November 16, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, and region based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 3% for the overall sample. 

Image: Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels