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What Values Matter Most To Americans? New Survey Suggests A Dramatic Shift

File: The American flag.
File: The American flag.
Photo by Anna Fox/HarshLight via Flickr Creative Commons

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Younger generations are rating certain American values as less important compared to the last couple decades.

According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, younger generations today consider having kids, religion and patriotism as less important. The majority of young people 20 years ago ranked these values as some of the most important. Values differed significantly by age. Nearly 80 percent of people 55 and older said patriotism was very important. Only 42 percent of people ages 18-36 agreed. Fewer than one-third of the younger group considered religion very important.

There are some common threads though, according to the study. Hard work remains at the top of the list of important values today and the majority of respondents rated tolerance for others as an important value. Larry sit down with experts to discuss the shifting trends in what Americans consider important values.


Bill McInturff, co-founder and managing partner of Public Opinion Strategies based in Virginia; he’s part of the bipartisan polling team that conducted the survey; he tweets @pollsterguy

Morley Winograd, Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, he’s the co-author of several books on the Millennial generation