Alternative Investment Report

Religion declines, money takes center stage: American values poll

(NewsNation) — Americans have become less religious and patriotic while placing a higher value on money, according to a new Gallup poll.  

The Wall Street Journal also conducted a poll assessing changes in Americans’ values over time, highlighting significant drops since 1998 in the importance Americans place on values like patriotism, religion, having children and community involvement.  

Conversely, the data revealed an increase in the importance of money. 

Gallup’s analysis of money’s importance, comparing 2002 to 2023, shows little change in the 30% who view it as extremely important.

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However, there’s a significant uptick in those considering it very important, rising from 40% to 49%. This combined increase in the top categories is substantial, going from 67% in 2002 to 79% in 2023 over two decades. 

The decline in religiosity in American society is evident in both Gallup and The Wall Street Journal surveys. In 1998, 62% of Americans found religion very important, dropping to 48% in 2019 and further to 39% in the latest survey — a notable nine-point decrease in just four years. 

Although Gallup and Journal surveys measured different items, trends on five topics — money, religion, patriotism, community and having children — allow for a meaningful comparison. This enables a better understanding of shifts in American values. 

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Gallup data showed an increased emphasis on community activities among Americans compared to previous years. The Journal’s polling between 1998 and 2019 also showed a similar increase, but there was a significant drop this year, coinciding with a change in surveying methods. 

While Americans without children have maintained a consistent interest in having children or regretted not having them, Journal data demonstrated a decline in the perceived importance of having children over time.

The differences in questions about children between the two organizations offer additional insight into the evolving desire of Americans to raise families, potentially explaining the drop in U.S. births in recent decades.