What Do Teens Really Value? A Josephson Institute survey of more than 20,000 high school students reveals surprising information about their values.

Teens Place a Very High Value on Ethics and Good Moral Character.

Students were presented with a long list of options and were asked to indicate how important each item was to them. Here are the highlights of the percentages that rated the item as very important or essential:

  • Being treated with respect – 99 percent.
  • Having good moral character – 98 percent.
  • Treating others with respect – 98 percent.
  • Helping others – 98 percent.
  • Having trusting personal relationships – 98 percent.
  • Getting into college – 97 percent.
  • Being thought of as ethical and honorable – 95 percent.
  • Pleasing my parents – 93 percent.
  • Being charitable – 93 percent.
  • Being physically attractive – 91 percent (91 percent of boys and 90 percent of girls).
  • My religion – 79% (75 percent of the boys said religion was very important or essential to them versus 82 percent of the girls).
  • Living up to the standards of my religion – 76 percent.
  • Being wealthy –70 percent overall but the gender differences here are dramatic. There was a 12 percent spread between the boys (77 percent) and the girls (65% percent) with the boys much more concerned about wealth than the girls
  • Being popular – 56 percent overall but the gender differences followed the pattern of responses for being popular but the spread between boys and girls was even wider — 17 percent spread between the boys (65 percent) and the girls (48 percent) with the boys much more concerned about popularity than the girls.

Comments 1

  1. I am a high school teacher. I very much would like to have a survey that helps my students bring into focus for themselves. I wanted to believe that I had found such a tool, but when I read on your home page that 97 percent have answered that getting into college is very important or essential I know for sure you are not dealing with the same students I am. How do you account for the fact that 25% of high school freshman will not go on to graduate?

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