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2013’s Biggest News: Obamacare, Boston Marathon Bombings, and the Birth of Prince George

Why Americans are hoping for a better 2014.

Many Americans will be all too happy to kiss 2013 goodbye on New Year’s Eve—a reflection of both economic and political anxiety over the way the year’s events affected our lives and our pocketbooks, according to an AP-Times Square poll.

Only about a third of Americans said this year was personally better for them than 2012, compared to 20 percent who said it was worse. Apparently we’re just not feeling the benefits of the economic recovery or the election promises of 2012. Younger people felt pretty good about it though—approximately 40 percent of the under-30 set say they had better fortunes in 2013.

The stories that touched on our personal health, wealth, and safety were the biggest in 2013. The confusing and inefficient roll out of the health care law was the top news story of 2013, Americans said. Congress’ continual bickering also hit close to home for many of us this year: 60 percent of Americans said the federal government’s October shutdown was extremely or very important in their lives, and for once, the sentiment was bi-partisan. About half of Americans also said the Boston Marathon bombings and the national debate over gun laws were noteworthy. No wonder we were feeling anxious this year. And with our focus on real-life problems, thankfully more forgettable were the antics of Miley Cyrus and other scandals. The one memorable pop culture moment of 2013? The birth of Britain’s Prince George.

As for 2014, about half of Americans think things their lives will improve next year. So at least we’re nothing if not optimistic.