Study finds what people say makes life meaningful
(KTVX) – What gives meaning to people’s lives? Is it money or material wealth? Or is it being able to do things like travel or work? A study by the Pew Research Center examines the things that people living in 17 “advanced economies” say make sense of their lives.
The study interviewed approximately 19,000 adults in Canada, Belgium, Spain, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, France, Sweden, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Japan, UK, South Korea, Taiwan and USA.
The study’s researchers found that the predominant thing people say that makes life meaningful to them is family. Participants from 14 of the 17 countries responded by saying that families give meaning to their lives more than any other factor.
“When emphasizing their relationships with their parents, siblings, children and grandchildren, people frequently mention the quality time spent with loved ones, the pride they take in the accomplishments of loved ones and even the desire to live a life that leaves a better world for their offspring. “said the Pew Research report.
More than half of those polled in the United States said family is a source of meaning in their lives. Jobs were also considered one of the top three sources of meaning in life, according to the Pew study. With the family in the lead, the second and third were jobs and material well-being.
However, the emphasis on employment as a source of meaning in life varied from country to country. In Italy, 43% of people said that a job gives meaning to their life, but in South Korea, only 6% of people said that a job is a source of meaning in their life.
The last three things that participants said gave meaning to life were retirement, faith and religion, and pets.
In the United States, the ranking for what makes life meaningful to respondents was, in order: family, friends, material well-being, profession, and faith.
American respondents also cited spirituality and faith as a source of meaning in life more than any other country surveyed. Fifteen percent of Americans cited religion while the second highest was New Zealand at 5%. It was only in Japan that respondents did not find religion and spirituality to be a source of meaning at all.
Health was another thing that respondents said made sense in their lives. However, despite the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, respondents were “no more likely to mention COVID-19 than those who did not prioritize health,” according to the study. Still, some respondents said they value their health due to the global pandemic.
Age also had an impact on what some people found significant compared to others in the study. Young people surveyed tended to focus on friends, education and hobbies as things that gave their life meaning, unlike older people who were more inclined to mention retirement and health instead. .
Men and women were fairly equal when it comes to what gives meaning to their lives. However, more women than men mentioned family as a factor that gives meaning to their lives. Likewise, people with higher levels of education and higher incomes were also more likely to mention family than those with lower levels of education and lower incomes.
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