Half of Americans Unhappy with U.S. Moral Values, Survey Indicates

Only 1% of the participants believed American society had excellent moral values. And that is an alarming figure. Clearly, American citizens are worried about the current moral ethics of America and the future of their children.

This insight comes from a survey conducted by Gallup in May 2022. Researchers asked adults 18 and above, living in the 50 states about their views and opinions on the subject to understand the perception of the overall state of moral values, their outlook for the future, and the top problems when it came to moral values and compare it with the results of previous studies.

The results made America’s moral values and its future look bleak.

Numbers Don’t Lie

The participants were asked to rate their views on the state of moral values and had to pick from excellent, good, fair, and poor. 

Almost 50% of the participants believed that the current moral values of Americans are ‘poor.’

Only 13% of them seemed to think they were excellent or good—a figure that actually went down from 18% in 2002, with the remaining 37% describing that as “only fair.”

Political Association and Moral Values

Does having Trump in office impact how Americans view their moral values? As the reports show, yes, it does.

In fact, 72% of Republicans rated moral values as poor, a figure that rose significantly after Trump’s tenure as president ended while 36% of Democrats rate moral principles as ‘terrible’, while almost half of them think they are ‘fair.’ Only 15% seem to believe it is ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’ 

With 44% of independents viewing the current status of moral principles as low, 40% as just fair, and 16% as excellent or good, it is reasonably consistent and closer to Democrats’ than Republicans’ assessment.

What’s Happening In America?

With mass shootings, rising crime rates, cyberbullying, and a homicide rate that increased in 2021, the survey shows American citizens are rightly concerned. 

Bullying alone affects 28% of American children in middle and high school.

If you look at the crime rate, according to U.S. Crime Rate & Statistics, the crime rate went up 6.02% in 2021 alone.

Systemic Racism Still Happening

Racial discrimination and systemic racism are still rampant.

According to the annual report on the State of Black America from the National Urban, this year’s Equality Index shows that black Americans only receive 73.9% of the “American pie.” What that means is, rather than having full equality with whites (100%), they are missing about 26% of that pie.

Understanding Moral Values

But how does all of these facts influence an American’s perception of current moral ethics?

Moral principles are concerned with right and wrong. These written and sometimes even unspoken rules help establish what is morally right and acceptable in society.

Simply put, they’re values that are held highly in a society. 

Poor Moral Values Stem From A Lack Of Consideration

Gallup asked respondents to identify the most significant issue with the current status of moral values in the U.S. in order to better understand how Americans view moral values.

When the survey tried to understand the cause, it found that the respondents felt the biggest problem for poor moral values was a ‘lack of consideration.’

What Is Consideration?

Consideration refers to having respect for another person’s needs and interests. It could be a neighbor, a parent, or even a stranger at a grocery store.

It answers the question about how we treat friends, coworkers, and strangers in our everyday lives, even those less fortunate than us.

Simply put, consideration for others includes being a thoughtful person and focusing on others.

Other Areas of Concern

The second problem was ‘racism’ and discrimination, which saw an increase from 2% in 2012 to 8% in 2022.

An interesting finding in the study showed a decrease in ‘lack of faith or religion’ and ‘lack of family structure’ as the problems for poor moral values, with percentages dropping from 10% in 2012 to 7% in 2022.

Looking Towards the Future 

The survey also asked citizens if they believed that moral standards were improving or declining across the nation as a whole.

It found that 78% of Americans feel that society’s morals aren’t just deteriorating but will continue to do so in the future.

Only a small percent, 18 to be exact, seem to have some hope that society’s morals will improve in the coming years. Let’s hope they’re right. 


This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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