Except for fashion that is.

At least, that’s what we found when NGC and Kelton Research surveyed Americans’ affection for the 80s, as featured on the front page of USA TODAY this morning.

Despite its reputation for bad hair and loud clothing, just about everything about the era — from the politics, leaders and safety to the music, TV shows and blockbuster movies — are seen as being better than they are today. In fact, 3 in 4 Americans (74%) thought that our country was better off then and even safer (76%). The same amount (76%) believe that government ran better in the 1980s than it does today. And if a presidential election were held today, 58 percent would vote for Ronald Reagan over Barack Obama. Americans ages 18 to 34 were evenly split, with 51 percent favoring Reagan and 49 percent Obama.

At least 4 in 10 Americans believe that movies (42%), TV shows (52%) and music (71%) were better in the ’80s than they are now. And nearly two-thirds (65%) of adults 18 to 34 and a whopping 88 percent of recent college grads who responded to the survey and didn’t live through the ’80s said that they wished they had been around for the tubular times!

For more rad stats and a heavy dose of nostalgia, check out the story on USAToday.com.

The 80s: The Decade that Made Us, a three-night, six-part event, premieres April 14 at 8 PM ET/PT on NGC.

80sInfographic - JPG

Comments

  1. JoMamma
    Virginia
    April 9, 2013, 11:38 am

    Everything in the 80′s was awesome! Didn’t Rick Springfield write a song, “Don’t Talk to Strangers” in 1986?

  2. Joey Cruel
    April 9, 2013, 3:21 pm

    I think that also the look was far better in ’80s.
    I’m proudly still dressin’, watchin’, listenin’, livin’ and breathin’ in an ’80s way.
    ’80s the best decade ever.

  3. JoMamma
    Virginia
    April 10, 2013, 11:47 am

    The dress was awesome! I especially loved girls in leg warmers!

  4. JEN
    PA
    April 10, 2013, 3:32 pm

    I gre up in the 80′s& I’m still obsessed with that decade! I’ll def be watching this.

  5. Darien
    April 12, 2013, 1:26 pm

    Except why ask 18 to 34 year olds? The former were still sperm and the latter were too young to really be in the crux of it.

  6. Russell
    phoenix
    April 12, 2013, 8:08 pm

    The 80′s was awesome but I won’t watch Hanoi Jane in anything

  7. ASimone
    April 13, 2013, 12:28 am

    I absolutely will be watching this…I love the 80′s!! Best decade ever!!

  8. chaitamya battaluri
    chennai, India
    April 13, 2013, 2:09 am

    i don’t know about the 80`s but when compared to the nineties the world today is something different. A wave of change in a decade is seen over and thought over. i miss the nineties.

  9. Lee Carter
    United Kingdom
    April 13, 2013, 2:28 am

    Diana died in like 1996.

  10. James
    Colorado Springs CO USA
    April 13, 2013, 2:32 am

    I expect better of National Geographic. Princess Diana did not die during the 1980s. You didn’t have to live through the ’80s like I did to know that. Yes, her wedding was epochal for women, but you can’t put down a false fact and trumpet it without it being noticed. I’m amazed you would miss that.

  11. Bells
    Australia
    April 13, 2013, 3:52 am

    After the the early 80′s everything started to go more down hill and it hasn’t stopped. By the time the late 90′s arrived, bad language, under age drinking, disrespect for everything and everyone began to happen. TV/movie shows started to go downhill as well. I preferred the 70′s myself. I don’t know why you asked people from 18-34 they weren’t there. You should of asked people from 35 – 60 who lived it.

  12. Nick
    Newburyport ma
    April 13, 2013, 6:51 am

    We had decent paying jobs in the eighties and social equality was much better. Reagan stripped our economy. Thank god he is gone.

  13. Crazy
    United States
    April 13, 2013, 8:38 am

    The 80′s was when Ozzy and Run
    DMC were both favs or the same genre..good times!

  14. Chris Healy
    Chicago
    April 13, 2013, 7:46 pm

    Where the hell are the Smiths? And Morrisey? I mean, come on! You are missing quite possibly the most influential group of the 80′s and an absolute style/fashion/hair icon….Steven Morrisey. Also their political views shaped music in England.
    Step it up Nat. Geo.

  15. Megan Richter
    USA
    April 13, 2013, 9:36 pm

    The people IN POWER making the SHITTY decisions that make TODAY a complete FAIL in historical levels WERE THE YOUTH OF THE 80′s. I grew up then(teen-college) and we all thought it was shit and rebelled but the choices made into political policies have been short sighted myopic and ADOLESCENT. Gen X and late Baby Boomers are running the world like CHILDREN and it has to stop!

  16. christina robinson
    nc
    April 14, 2013, 11:20 am

    http://bit.ly/1140Xof Please VOTE for me~I don’t have very good memories at all because I am an incest survivor~but the one good memory I do have from my past was in the 80′s when in the mist of coming out from the horror I called childhood– & it was MUSIC~ I LOVED music it was my release, my escape my inspiration. Back in the 80′s you had songs that told a story that spoke straight to your soul & videos that were like mini movies. I do miss that part of the 80′s :)

  17. Ron Miller
    Idaho
    April 14, 2013, 9:32 pm

    Jane Fonda? Are you kidding? That bitch should be deported or jailed! And you jerks spotlight her on your show. You Should be ashamed!

  18. Dave
    Boston
    April 15, 2013, 9:09 pm

    When I die, I hope to relive the 80′s through eternity… it was the best of times and the best of times… The best music, a time when even science and technology seemed to find new highs, people were interested in having fun. Politics played second to people. The world was ready for change and it did, drastically as the decade ended. Love the 80′s…

  19. Darius
    Middletown
    April 15, 2013, 9:38 pm

    Nick, you’re a dumbass. When Reagan took office we had double digit inflation and double digit interest rates and very little worldwide respect. Reagan changed all that. Now your boy Barack is Jimmy Carter on steroids. You are right about one thing, there was more social equality then. Your boy Barack has all but destroyed that now too fueling a racial divide that hasn’t been seen since the sixties.

  20. Jen
    Utah
    April 16, 2013, 9:22 pm

    What’s up with the graphics about the deaths of Diana, Michael, Steve and Whitney?!!

  21. Tiffanie
    us
    April 17, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Where’s MJ?? A couple mentions and that’s all? Just finished watching it and it was good but the most memorable thing that comes to mind when I think of the 80s is Michael, maybe b/c I was only 5-10 but still think he should’ve been mentioned more..plus Diana didn’t die until 1997

  22. Chad
    U.S.
    April 18, 2013, 12:44 pm

    There’s no denying that America was better off in the 1980′s under President Reagan than it is in the 2010′s under President Obama.

  23. Stenar
    April 19, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Nope, fashion was better in the ’80s. Not the Dynasty fashion, but the modern rock/alternative type of fashion was HOT.

  24. GoldLions
    USA
    April 19, 2013, 10:25 pm

    Daymn I miss the 80′s. Best time ever.

  25. Derek Pearce
    April 19, 2013, 11:21 pm

    People always remember the good ole days as better than they really were. The 80s were fun in many respects, but let’s not get carried away. I find it interesting that “the most defining movie of the decade”, Back to the Future, actually mostly takes place during the 1950s. Does nobody remember being afraid of the real threat of nuclear war for the first half of the decade? Does not one remember the onset of the AIDS crisis? I’m glad to have been a child of the 80s but would never go back and live in that time now.

  26. Barbara
    United States
    April 20, 2013, 12:50 pm

    For those of you who are all “why did they mention ____________’s death cuz s/he didn’t die until 199__ or 200_.” The question was about 80′s ICONS. MJ, Diana, Whitney, etc.—they were our icons then.

    And for the Fonda haters….yeah okay we get it. What Nat. Geo. is focusing on is the 80′s, not the 60′s-70′s. Her impact on home video is undeniable, no matter how you feel about her involvement in the abortion that was Vietnam. While I do not agree with her actions in Vietnam, I do think her video revolutionized the home video market and for that reason–and that reason alone–is good enough to be included in this special.

    I also agree the we were much better off under Reagan than Obama. I was fortunate in that I grew up in California while he was the governor and my parents reaped the benefits of his being governor. In California, we had a taste of the Reagan-era even before he became president and it was a delightful time to live there.

    I think there were a lot of great things that came out of the 80′s and I think Nat. Geo did an admirable job of sorting through *everything* it could have shown. I do think they could have done more than just 6 shows. For such an influential decade, I’m sure they could have found more than 6 hours of stuff that has influenced todays’ life without getting mired down in the details of every darn thing that came out of the 80′s.

  27. Mike
    New York City
    April 20, 2013, 8:47 pm

    What’s that song they were playing in the background with bells and a woman singing? Almost mythical like.

    Thanks,

  28. alice
    NJ
    April 20, 2013, 9:00 pm

    I loved the I Love the 80s Marathon. I just watched it and made my kids watch too. I wish Rob Lowe was my History Teacher/ great writing! Nostalgic… Seems like yesterday.

  29. Shemp9971
    April 21, 2013, 7:35 am

    Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the 1980′s WEREN’T ALWAYS FUN, with AIDS, crack, etc. I don’t really romanticize that decade the way others do, particularly if you were living in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), because while much of America turned red, Minnesota was mostly blue. A lot of the problems we’ve been facing in the last 20 years had their roots in the 1980′s, such as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 partially as a result of farm foreclosures. Things were rosy for the wealthy, but not for much of the working classes. Listen to “Johnny 99″ from Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album. And read the lyrics to “Born In The U.S.A.” And all that music (i.e. gangsta rap, etc.) that you guys complain about had their roots in the 1980′s underground. As for Obama, while I’m not a fan of his, I do think he gets unfairly villified for problems that he INHERITED (repeat: INHERITED) from George W. Bush. You were used to getting the quick result under Reagan. Also, economies don’t tend to turn around overnight. A lot of you tend to confuse optimism for a state of denial. Helping to defeat communism notwithstanding, most of Reagan’s policies such as trickle down economics, haven’t worked. That money didn’t exactly ” trickle down” to the lower classes. As for being “better off”, sure you were that way, but were you necessarily HAPPY? Not necessarily. You weren’t always told the TRUTH from your leaders, because you apparently COULDN’T HANDLE IT. Don’t get me wrong, you do need reassurance once in a while, but you need your leaders to be honest as well. Sorry, but you will NEVER (repeat: NEVER) see a politician like Reagan again or even a decade like the 1980′s ever again. Political leadership is becoming more and more subtle and criticism of Obama gets more and more ridiculous. There was some great music, such as my hometown hero Prince as well as U2, etc. but for the most part, the 1980′s were a musical wasteland. In the words of Nikki Sixx, it was a sad copycat era.

  30. Shemp9971
    April 21, 2013, 11:02 am

    Reagan was one of the biggest liars on the planet. Sorry to say it, but the 1980′s are OVERRATED.

  31. Shemp9971
    April 27, 2013, 10:08 am

    I’m so sick and tired of everyone beating up on the 1970′s. Sure they had their difficult moments, but there was an optimism in that decade that you didn’t really have in the 1980′s. The 1980′s were built on lies and cynicism.

  32. Hal
    Mindanao, Philippines
    May 22, 2013, 5:40 am

    As others have mentioned, although Nat Geo did an admirable job in the series on the 80s, they did miss a whole lot of the musical genre of the era, such as The Cure, The Smiths and many others. I quite enjoy the series on Showtime “The Americans” about the N.O.C. (Illegal) KGB agents in the USA posing as American Citizens. The series 1st season which just recently concluded focused on 1981 and demonstrated just how much the attempted assassination of President Regan frightened the USSR and made them think a coup was taking place with a warmonger General from the Joint Chiefs of Staff planning to take control and launch a nuclear first strike against them.

    In any case, nearly everything, most especially music and government leadership was FAR BETTER in the Regan era!

  33. Hal
    Mindanao, Philippines
    May 22, 2013, 5:48 am

    Just a little apology regarding the typo which caused me to spell Reagan incorrectly as “Regan”. Now that I cleaned my keyboard, the keys are now functioning properly again.

  34. Jay
    New Zealand (two mini islands somewere to the west of USA)
    June 7, 2013, 6:00 am

    what Obama is doing for America is amazing!
    how can you be so ungrateful? if you lived in a tin-pot place like New Zealand who was hardly discovered in the ’80′s you would understand!

  35. Brannon
    USA
    June 13, 2013, 12:13 am

    As a child/preteen in the 70s, and a teenager/young adult in the 80s, I have to say that the 80s were awesome. Sure, there were some bad times, as all decades, but for the most part, the 80s rocked. The music, the fashion(even though alot of it was cheezy, i t was what it was) mullets(God forbid) and the economy was good. Gas was 80-90 something cents a gallon back then. The parties were awesome. Would I do it all over again…….NO! Why, because I was there, lived it, breathed it, had a great time, but that was in the past, this is the present. Although alot sucks now, we have to go on. I loved the 80s, I had some great times back then. Would not trade the memories for a million dollars. As bad as the world is getting now, I push on, and try to live in the NOW. But, like I said, I will always remember the great times my friends and I had back then. We often talk about those glory days of our teen and young adult lives. But its different times now. Time to press on….

  36. Brannon
    USA
    June 13, 2013, 12:48 am

    Yeah, your right, what Obama has done and is doing to/ for America is amazing, thats one way to put it. Thats all im saying.

  37. the decade that what? | Brain Noise
    June 13, 2013, 12:28 pm

    [...] among the batch of pages associated with this miniseries, was some blog page item titled “It’s Official – Everything was Better in the 80s!“. One of the episodes is described on the site with the subheading text “The ’70s [...]

  38. James Justin
    brisbane
    June 26, 2013, 7:52 am

    I miss my beautiful friends back then
    i miss the amazing music
    i miss the freedom when we wernt so obsessed by money
    i loved the person i was then
    I feel lost in this world
    i seek not the connection of social media
    but real friends in real time
    i loved the 80s and still feel lucky to have lived then

  39. Tijana
    Serbia
    June 26, 2013, 5:53 pm

    In my opinion life was much better in 80′s , people were happier, children had less toyes but more love from their parents, men were men, women were women. Marriage had a reall meaning of it. Social community had more sympathy for sick and poor people. You had a freedom to travel and we were respected as a nation. Michael Jackson and Madonna were leaders in music, also rap was rap..MTV was so good.
    And food had a real taste and smell on it, it was not “plastic”.

  40. Janraff
    Phllipines
    June 28, 2013, 10:48 am

    excuse me . i can i know what song do they use when it was first shown in public ?? please ??

  41. Afi K. James
    August 24, 2013, 12:53 pm

    Shemp9971

    April 21, 7:35 am
    Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the 1980′s WEREN’T ALWAYS FUN, with AIDS, crack, etc. I don’t really romanticize that decade the way others do, particularly if you were living in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul), because while much of America turned red, Minnesota was mostly blue. A lot of the problems we’ve been facing in the last 20 years had their roots in the 1980′s, such as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 partially as a result of farm foreclosures. Things were rosy for the wealthy, but not for much of the working classes. Listen to “Johnny 99″ from Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album. And read the lyrics to “Born In The U.S.A.” And all that music (i.e. gangsta rap, etc.) that you guys complain about had their roots in the 1980′s underground. As for Obama, while I’m not a fan of his, I do think he gets unfairly villified for problems that he INHERITED (repeat: INHERITED) from George W. Bush. You were used to getting the quick result under Reagan. Also, economies don’t tend to turn around overnight. A lot of you tend to confuse optimism for a state of denial. Helping to defeat communism notwithstanding, most of Reagan’s policies such as trickle down economics, haven’t worked. That money didn’t exactly ” trickle down” to the lower classes. As for being “better off”, sure you were that way, but were you necessarily HAPPY? Not necessarily. You weren’t always told the TRUTH from your leaders, because you apparently COULDN’T HANDLE IT. Don’t get me wrong, you do need reassurance once in a while, but you need your leaders to be honest as well. Sorry, but you will NEVER (repeat: NEVER) see a politician like Reagan again or even a decade like the 1980′s ever again. Political leadership is becoming more and more subtle and criticism of Obama gets more and more ridiculous. There was some great music, such as my hometown hero Prince as well as U2, etc. but for the most part, the 1980′s were a musical wasteland. In the words of Nikki Sixx, it was a sad copycat era.

    the 80′s was no musical wasteland, today’s music is a musical wasteland

    and a lot of people hate nobama, because he’s a puppet like the rest of them NWO globalists, look what he’s doing, Pushing executive orders more faster than even bushit has done, launching more illegal wars, continuing torture, starting race wars, NSA and other stuff, he is bush on steroids, he is a fraud like the rest of them.

  42. Afi K. James
    August 24, 2013, 12:55 pm

    The 70′s was a terrible decade, because of one thing, an illegal war in vietnam, watergate, inflation, high oil prices and much more.

  43. gerard o'leary
    montreal
    September 8, 2013, 11:23 am

    The 80′s were better ? From whose viewpoint, Newt Gingrich’s ? The “Second Guilded Age” we are in now, with its incredible inequity, mass imprisonment, and state/corporate tyranny, saw its real roots form in the 80′s with Reaganomics.
    This is a conservative piece using faulty logic, kind of akin to saying the Titanic was in a safer condition just after it struck the iceberg compared to the moment it sank ! lol

  44. steve miller
    March 1, 2:54 pm

    I lived through the 80′s and the people that made this series are the same ones who for the last 20+ years have been calling the “80′s” the “Decade of Greed”. They made movies like Wall Street, the Boiler Room, the Insider etc., all about how terrible making money is, and how ruthless and savage Reagan was.
    Ah, but now, we have an election on the way. Things are not going well in Oz and we have to understand that the economic prosperity of the 80′s and 90′s was due to dope smoking hippies that hated everything they claim they loved in this series. Blowing up buildings, killing police officers, and re-writing history are the things that were lauded by this group, not financial prosperity.

  45. Afi K. James
    May 19, 7:43 pm

    The 80′s were better ? From whose viewpoint, Newt Gingrich’s ? The “Second Guilded Age” we are in now, with its incredible inequity, mass imprisonment, and state/corporate tyranny, saw its real roots form in the 80′s with Reaganomics.
    This is a conservative piece using faulty logic, kind of akin to saying the Titanic was in a safer condition just after it struck the iceberg compared to the moment it sank ! lol

    yeah and you leftist think bill cunton and the 90′s were better? please, the 90′s was the decade that everything started to stink.