Success Index

Populace, in partnership with Gallup, conducted the first-of-its-kind, nationally representative study of American views of success. With nationwide polling of more than 5,000 representative U.S. respondents, the index reveals a startling rejection of traditional markers of American success — “fame, finances, and status — in favor of personal goals, fulfillment and community.

From youth to adulthood — from our elementary schools to our employers, to our television sets and social media feeds — we are bombarded with a zero-sum definition of success that emphasizes wealth, power, and status over fulfillment and the abilities of every individual. 

Understanding what Americans consider a successful life, and whether they consider their lives to be successful, reveals our values and what we want most out of our culture. It also allows us to examine whether Americans’ needs are being met by the institutions designed to facilitate our success — our workplaces, educational and healthcare systems — in an era of rapid technological and societal change. 

Our Purpose

We can see people better than ever before.

The days of knowing people through averages, aggregates, and types are over. We have a new science of individuality that provides us with an unprecedented understanding of individuals on their own terms.

This is enabling us to transform how we teach, train, and heal.

Innovators are using this understanding to convert our cookie-cutter systems into highly personalized ones. As a result, medical systems are able to treat people based on their unique genomes. Education systems are able to teach people based on their individual abilities and interests. Workplaces are able to cultivate people in ways that harness their uniqueness and allow them to make their greatest contributions.

And, on the most fundamental level, people want something different.

Money, fame, power. That’s what we’ve been taught to orient our lives around in America. But our research shows that what we really want is something far more personal. An overwhelming majority of Americans now define a successful life as following their unique interests and talents to become the best they can be at what they care about most. Americans are hungry for a world that understands and values them. A world that is built to nurture and unleash their unique talents.

We believe that for the first time ever, we can do something about it.

Our purpose is to use this understanding of individuality to bend technology and social forces toward a world where people live fulfilling lives in a thriving society.