Beliefnet News

christian-bible-on-flagA new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that the values of American’s are changing drastically from generation to generation.

Two decades ago, items like patriotism, religion, and having children were much higher up on American’s lists of values. This shift is driven mostly by younger Americans.

Sixty-one percent of Americans in the new survey listed patriotism as very important to them, a 9-point drop from 1998. Patriotism is still very important for those over 55, with 79 percent saying it was very important. Only 42 percent of Americans aged 18 to 38, though, agreed.

The biggest decrease was the importance of having children. Only 42 percent of Americans said it was very important to have kids, which is a 16-point decrease from the poll in 1998.

Religion was important to 48 percent of Americans which is a 14-point drop from 21 years ago. Again, younger American’s explain this shift. The majority (67 percent) of those over the age of 55 still cited region as very important, but only 30 percent of Americans aged 18 to 38 believed the same.

Hard work, however, was one value that stayed consistently a top priority for Americans.

Furthermore, the study looked at how American’s viewed the economy. The study indicated that a majority of Americans are satisfied with the economy, while two-thirds aren’t confident the next generation will be “better off” than the current generation. The survey indicated the Democrats have changed more than Republicans.

“In fact, the views of Democrats over age 50 were more in line with those of younger Republicans than with younger members of their own party,” Day wrote. “In addition to differences in personal values, the poll lays out how the country has divided along partisan lines on many other views of society.”

When asked if “the country is becoming more diverse and tolerant of different lifestyles,” 63 percent of Democrats agreed with the notion compared to 16 percent of Republicans.