New Poll Shows American Values Are Declining

The data: A new poll shows a shift in values that once defined American society; the rates of respondents who consider patriotism, religion, and having children important have fallen significantly since 1998 and plunged in the last four years. Fifty-eight percent deem tolerance for others important, down from 80 percent in 2019. The only value that rose in importance was money, from 31 percent to 43 percent.

Source: WSJ/NORC poll of 1,019 adults, March 2023

Generational divide: There is a notable difference in values between age groups. Nearly 60 percent of those ages 65 and older still consider patriotism highly important, compared to less than 25 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds. The older generations value having children, religion, and hard work more than younger age groups.

Political divide: Republicans value patriotism, religion, and children more; Democrats value community involvement slightly more. Both value money equally. Respondents were also asked whether society has gone “too far” in accepting LGBT people and promoting racial diversity in schools and businesses. Most Republicans answered it had; only a small minority of Democrats responded the same.

What happened? Though Americans have valued these principles less and less over the last 20 years, a significant decline only occurred these last four years. These years have seen a significant loss of trust in all institutions amid the pandemic and a progressive movement that widely influenced the younger generations. Also, as Upward News has tracked, younger generations are no longer becoming more conservative with age as usually expected.

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