Trend: Rating Current State of Moral Values in U.S.

Americans remain largely pessimistic about the direction in which the nation’s morals are headed, according to Gallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey, conducted May 3-6. Seventy-three percent of Americans say moral values in the country as a whole are getting worse, up from 69% last year. However, their outlook now is slightly less negative than in 2004 to 2008, when about eight in 10 Americans said moral values were getting worse. Nineteen percent now say values are getting better, and 5% volunteer that they are staying the same…

To better understand what Americans mean when they say moral values in the country are getting worse, Gallup asked respondents to describe in their own words the most important problem with the state of moral values in the country today. The resulting verbatim responses were coded into categories.

Americans are most likely to cite a lack of respect or tolerance for other people as the most important problem with moral values. Other frequent responses include the decline of family structure, a lack of religion and faith, and a lack of morals in general.