What Americans want (Barna)

From the latest Barna Update: (based upon telephone interviews conducted by The Barna Group with a random sample of 1003 adults selected from across the continental United States, age 18 and older, in May 2008.)

Three-quarters of all adults identified the following as being very important elements in their ideal life.

  • good physical health (85%),

  • living with a high degree of integrity (also 85%),

  • having one marriage partner for life (80%),

  • having a clear purpose for living (77%),

  • having a close relationship with God (75%), and

  • having close, personal friendships (74%).

Items listed by at least half of the adults interviewed:

  • a comfortable lifestyle ( 70%),

  • a satisfying sex life with their marriage partner (66%),

  • children (66%),

  • living close to family and relatives(63%),

  • being deeply committed to the Christian faith (59%), and

  • making a difference in the world (56%).

Seven conditions that only a minority of Americans deemed worthy of including in their vision of their desired future life:

  • having a college degree (46%),

  • being personally active in a church (45%),

  • traveling throughout the world for pleasure (28%),

  • working in a high-paying job (28%),

  • owning a large home (18%),

  • owning the latest household technology/electronics (11%) and

  • achieving fame or public recognition (7%).

COMPARISONS WITH PREVIOUS YEARS:

What Adults Want Their Future to Include

Desired Outcome 2008 2000 1993 1991
having good physical health 85% 91% 92% 93%
living with a high degree of integrity 85% 81% n/a 76%
having one marriage partner for life 80% 79% n/a n/a
having a clear purpose for living 77% 75% 71% n/a
having a close relationship with God 75% 70% 74% 72%
having close, personal friendships 74% 75% 79% 73%
having a comfortable lifestyle 70% 61% 72% 59%
having a satisfying sex life with your marriage partner 66% 63% n/a n/a
having children 66% 55% n/a n/a
living close to your family and relatives 63% 60% 63% 67%
being deeply committed to the Christian faith 59% 53% n/a n/a
making a difference in the world 56% 47% n/a n/a
having a college degree 46% 51% n/a n/a
being personally active in a church 45% 42% n/a n/a
traveling throughout the world for pleasure 28% 26% n/a n/a
working in a high-paying job 28% 29% 43% 36%
owning a large home 18% 21% 30% 23%
owning the latest household technology/electronics 11% 9% n/a n/a
achieving fame or public recognition 7% 6% 10% 10%

survey sample size 1003 1002 1202 1003

(Source: The Barna Group, Ventura, CA)

COMMENT [Ben]: I’m actually a little bit surprised, and somewhat impressed. I kind of wonder how the survey was conducted – whether the way the questions were asked influenced the outcome in any way. My second question is: how much do lifestyle choices reflect these desires. In other words, are the choices people making reflecting these stated desires? Do our lifestyle choices and actions betray a different set of real desires?

Visit the Barna Update for more details and analysis.

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