- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2021

People around the world find the greatest meaning in their lives in their families, a Pew Research survey says.

About 39% of 19,000 respondents in 17 countries noted family as their source of meaning, compared to only 2% who said spirituality is their source of meaning, according to the Pew survey, which was released Nov. 18. 

In Australia, New Zealand, Greece and the United States, roughly half or more of respondents said their families make their lives fulfilling. 

“Highlighting their relationships with parents, siblings, children and grandchildren, people frequently mention quality time spent with their kinfolk, the pride they get from the accomplishments of their relatives and even the desire to live a life that leaves an improved world for their offspring,” a summary of the Pew survey states. 

For its Spring 2021 Global Attitudes Survey, Pew polled 19,000 adults “17 advanced economies,” including the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands, among others. 

Thirteen of the participating nations noted family first overall. In Italy, family and occupation tied for first place. Spanish respondents listed health as their top source of meaning, while South Koreans said material well-being was most important. In Taiwan, society and institutions took first place. 

Fifteen percent of U.S. respondents said faith gives their lives meaning; however, faith failed to register higher than 5% among other nations. No Japanese respondents identified faith as a source of meaning. 

Five percent of New Zealanders, 4% of Australians, and 3% of Canadians and Dutch cited faith as the source of meaning. Two percent of Germans, Greeks, Italians, Singaporeans, Spaniards, Taiwanese and Brits noted faith, while 1% of Belgians, French, South Koreans and Swedes did so. 

The survey also found an ideological split: Those who lean left are more likely to identify nature, hobbies, education and friends as chief sources of meaning. Those who are lean right are most likely to cite religion and faith as their top choice. 

Pew said the Americans surveyed were part of its American Trends Panel, drawn from a poll conducted Feb. 1-7. A total of 2,596 U.S. panelists responded out of 2,943 who were sampled, for a response rate of 88%. 

Polling overseas, where methodology differed by country, was conducted by Gallup or Langer Research Associates, Pew said.

The complete survey report is available online at https://www.pewresearch.org/global/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2021/11/PG_11.18.21_meaning-in-life_fullreport.pdf.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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