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“Family Comes First” for Most Americans, Pew Research Says

In a recent survey from Pew Research, results show that almost 70% of Americans said their family is their top source of meaning, fulfillment, and satisfaction in their lives.

Religion was also mentioned as something that gave them a “great deal” of meaning. In fact, a fifth of Americans surveyed said religious faith is the most meaningful aspect of their lives.

The survey also revealed that after their family, Americans find meaning and satisfaction from spending time outdoors, spending time with their friends, taking care of their friends, and listening to music.

The survey, which was conducted in two waves last year, was composed of an open-ended questionnaire wherein Americans were asked to describe what makes their lives meaningful. In the second round, Americans were given a closed-ended questionnaire to rate how much meaning and fulfillment they find from 15 possible sources.

Religion was also mentioned as something that gave them a “great deal” of meaning. In fact, a fifth of Americans surveyed said religious faith is the most meaningful aspect of their lives, and more than half said it is the most important source of life’s meaning. According to Pew Research Associate Director Gregory A. Smith who is also one of the main researchers of the survey, “If you then follow up and ask to which of these is the most important source of meaning, their religion is a clear second.”

The group consisting of evangelicals stood out in the survey. Two-thirds of evangelicals said they draw meaning from their religion, while almost 50% said it’s the most important source of meaning in their lives.

The group consisting of evangelicals stood out in the survey. Two-thirds of evangelicals said they draw meaning from their religion, while almost 50% said it’s the most important source of meaning in their lives.

Another group that draws life’s meaning from religion is the black American’s. Half of them said they find a “great deal” of meaning from their religious faith.

The survey also found that conservative Americans are more likely to draw meaning from religion. On the other hand, liberal Americans find meaning in creativity and causes.

“If you look at the cultural norms within the U.S., there’s a high emphasis placed on family and you see that reflected out in the survey responses,” said Jamie Aten, executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College. “We also see it valued across most major world religions. Many of our institutions promote family as a highly valued unit. We see that cutting across the messaging we receive on a daily basis.”

Results of the survey likewise showed that Americans who have high educational and income levels are more prone to mention travel, stability, friendships, as well as good health when asked where they draw meaning in their lives. For Aten, this also made sense as people find meaning in things that can be obtained. “It points out the real challenges that individuals in a lower income level face: Health may be ranked out of reach because of what people have experienced, oppression or racism or other challenges.”

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