Home > Research > Trend Analysis Reports >
Most Americans Want Stronger Values, Less Materialism
People want a greater sense of balance in their lives. They feel that materialism, greed and selfishness increasingly dominate American life and crowd out values centered on family, community and responsibility.

Asked to rate several values on a ten-point scale in terms of personal importance to them, those who rate an eight, nine or ten include responsibility (92%), family life (91%) and friendship (85%). Nearly three out of four (72%) rate generosity at the same level, while only two-thirds rate religious faith as of the same importance and only a third (37%) rate prosperity and wealth at this level.

Asked a similar question regarding the values of "most people," 58% (the largest percentage) select prosperity and wealth, 46% select friendship and 45% select family life. Responsibility drops to 28%, generosity to 20%, and religious faith to 18% when the values of "most people" are in question.

Most Americans are worried about the future and many feel that materialism is spinning out of control. 82% feel that most people buy far more than they need and 86% say "today's youth are too focused on buying and consuming things." At the same time, they are ambivalent about making changes in their lives and in society. They want financial security and to live in comfort, but their greatest aspirations are quite different-66% want to spend more time with family and friends, 56% want to reduce stress, and 47% want to do more to make a difference in their community.

These data indicate that there is a spiritual hunger in America today. They also provide some clear indicators as to how ministries can touch the average American where he or she is concerned.

Trend Analysis Report (2005) - Source: Merck Family Fund