Mental illness has been steadily on the rise for a number of years now. Teenagers especially are suffering from depression and anxiety in ways that generations before have never experienced. And it started long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent data showed that one in every three American high school girls contemplated suicide in 2021, and between 2009 and 2015, the number of girls between 10 and 14 who were admitted to the emergency room for self-harm tripled. By the time 2016 rolled around, 90% of all teen girls used social media every single day while simultaneously seeing their friends in person less and less. But the mental health crisis certainly doesn't end with teenagers. More people than ever are taking psychiatric drugs. As of January 2021, there are 76,940,157 people taking some kind of antidepressant, antipsychotic, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, or lithium. But there's something in particular happening with the demographic of young liberal women.
Young Liberal Women Are Statistically the Unhappiest and Most Mentally Ill Demographic in America
Liberals are known to be much more involved with what's happening politically than conservatives. In fact, for many liberals, political activism is an entire personality that has made them hyperaware and even pessimistic about our society. Data has also shown that liberal people are less likely to prioritize activities that bring them personal fulfillment, such as a faith community, marriage, and family. Only 37% of liberals are married, while 56% of conservatives are married. Marriage has long been associated with better health, increased happiness, and even longer life expectancy.
It's also worth noting that more than 60% of liberals are under the age of 50, and almost one in every three liberals are under the age of 30. Comparatively, four in 10 conservatives are under the age of 50. Perhaps the levels of unhappiness may be correlated with age, as people 50 and above tend to report higher levels of happiness and fulfillment in their life compared to their younger counterparts.
A recent Gallup poll shows that women are increasingly unhappier with the way they are treated in society. In 2016, 61% of women said they were satisfied with the way women were treated in our country, compared to the 44% of women today who claim that they are happy with the way women are treated. Between 2001 and 2016, women's satisfaction with how they were treated seemed to stay about the same, but something happened in 2017 that changed everything. And the difference really shows up in liberal women. About 70% of conservative women feel they are treated fairly by society, but only 44% of liberal women say the same.
38% of liberal women between the ages of 18 and 29 identify as LGBT, and the number of Gen Z individuals who identify as LGBT almost doubled in the last few years. Much data has shown that LGBT individuals struggle with mental illness much more than other demographics, so it would only make sense that so many liberals (many of whom identify as LGBT) have higher rates of mental illness.
A 2020 survey showed that 56% of white liberal women between ages 18 and 29 were diagnosed with a mental health condition, compared to 27% of conservative women in the same age bracket. 40% of liberal women between 30 and 49 reported having a mental health condition, compared to 26% of conservative women of the same age.
While all of these numbers may point to correlations rather than causalities, they certainly raise some questions worth asking. What, in particular, is happening with liberal women that makes them more inclined to report higher levels of unhappiness and mental illness? Are mentally ill people simply more drawn to liberal politics, or is the liberal ideology opening the door to a lack of fulfillment?