While cultures and ideas about how life should be lived vary widely around the world, the important things that people have are remarkably consistent.
In a Nielsen survey that spanned the globe, getting feedback from more than 29,000 people in 58 nations, pollsters found that the No. 1 priority worldwide is spending quality time with family.
According to a report by Reuters on Friday, four out of every five people polled said that spending time with family was most important. When the question was posed in Latin America, the response was even stronger, with 88 percent citing that as most important.
“One of the more interesting findings is the consistency in these values, which tells us that we are similar in many ways,” James Russo, senior vice president of Global Consumer Insights of Nielsen, told Reuters.
For more than three-quarters of the respondents, deciding how many children to have was a top issue. It was cited by 77 percent of those polled overall, with location impacting the answer. In places like Mexico and Brazil, nine out of 10 thought it was crucial. Only half to 45 percent felt the same way in France and Norway.
The third big issue? Higher education. It edged out family planning globally, with 78 percent finding it a top concern, particularly in nations with emerging economies. While only 35 percent of those surveyed in Thailand and 37 percent of Austrians surveyed saw it as crucial, at least 90 percent of respondents in places like Mexico, Turkey, the Philippines, South Africa and Brazil found it to be important.
People in nations that are looking to improve their standard of living realize that the best road to financial stability comes from better education.
The roles of women and religion saw some big swings.
For instance, just more than three-quarters of those surveyed thought that women should have a say in household matters. But when asked about the importance of roles as a wife and mother, 43 percent said they were the most important roles for a woman. That was felt most strongly in Latin America — 63 percent — and much less in North America and the Asia-Pacific region, where the roles were seen as most important by only three out of every 10 respondents. Broken down by sex, 46 percent of the men surveyed globally and 39 percent of women agreed that the mother/wife role was most important.
As far as religion, only one in five Europeans saw it as a guiding force. That number was highest in the Middle East and Africa, where 71 percent gave it that status. The worldwide average was 35 percent.
This was the first time that Nielsen had attempted to conduct a worldwide lifestyle survey, so it will be interesting to see how percentages and attitudes change as subsequent studies are conducted. But there is some reassurance that, while the world is a large place and people can be quite different, there are common threads such as family that bind us together.