Which Demographic Groups Are Most Confident in Their Physical Appearance?

July 11, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Asian-American | Boomers & Older | Hispanic | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

Gallup-Americans-Perceptions-of-Their-Physical-Appearance-July2014Americans’ perception of (and potential concern over) their physical appearance “fuels a huge component of the US economy, extending across clothing, makeup, hair care, weight control, and cosmetic surgery industries” notes Gallup in newly-released survey results examining various demographic groups’ confidence in their physical appearance. Interestingly, older Americans appear most confident in their appearance, while Hispanics and Blacks are significantly more likely to feel good about their appearance than whites.

Respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement with the following item: “You always feel good about your physical appearance.” Some 58% of adults rated their level of agreement a top-2 box score on a 5-point scale (where 5 means strongly agree and 1 means strongly disagree), with that figure highest among adults aged 65 and up (66%) and lowest among those aged 35-64 (54%). Millennials (18-34) were close to the average, at 61%.

Those age-related trends hold true for both men and women, whose confidence in their physical appearance dips during middle age but rises during their senior years. The percentage point gap in confidence between men and women is highest in the 18-24 (69% men; 57% women) and 30-34 (63% men; 51% women) brackets, with that gap tending to be smaller in senior years – and virtually non-existent among those aged 85 and up.

The tendency for seniors (65+) to be most confident in their appearance also holds true for each racial group.

Overall, black adults and Hispanic adults were most likely to say they always feel good about their physical appearance, with two-thirds of each group reporting such confidence. By contrast, a relatively smaller 55% of whites reported always feeling good about their appearance.

In fact, only a minority 49% of middle-aged whites claimed to always feel good about their physical appearance, compared to roughly two-thirds of middle-aged blacks, Hispanics and Asians.

About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 1-June 23, 2014, with a random sample of 85,145 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±.39 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Sample sizes for reported sub-groups, however, get smaller and the margin of error can get much higher. The smallest sub-group (Asians 65+) is comprised of 130 respondents, and carries a margin of error of +/-10.5%

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