Modern Europeans: What Do They Value?

Youth Time has conducted a survey in the cities of the Czech Republic and Slovakia to determine which values are prioritized by 1,000 modern Europeans. The survey results show that natural pragmatism has a place alongside the eternal concepts of honor and responsibility, and Her Majesty Love holds sway over most minds.      

Let’s pay no regard to the longstanding dispute among scientists about whether there are, or are not, universal ideals. The focus will be on the essential values, those that form the personal priorities of any given individual. We’ve decided to determine empirically the significance level of some of them.

Our editorial staff have chosen 20 qualities, the first half of which fits into the category of “traditional values” (honor, love, loyalty), whilst the second half can be categorized as “modern values”, such as efficiency, the desire to be ahead of the game (be the best), and personal development. After assembling our list of values, we went onto the streets of the selected cities, where we interviewed passersby and found out about their top, as well as secondary or fogyish priorities.

What were the results of this survey?

The main personal priority of Czechs and Slovaks, regardless of their age or gender, is love and “confidence in the future”: 62.35% and 60.30% respectively.

Only 1.59% of respondents think that love is obsolete, while 1% of them describe “confidence in the future” as a relic of the past. By the way, “honor” is the only value which earns a lower ranking than obsolescence (0.9%).

Women, who value love, consider the matrimonial relationship to be the priority. However, barely half of male respondents recognize the importance of marriage.

Top 5 high-priority values

Love – 62.35%

Confidence in the future – 60.30%

Personal liberty – 52.74%

Responsibility – 51.94%

Honor – 49.85%

The respondents held off on dismissing certain values, as they tried to classify their evaluative judgments in the framework of “most important” and “important.” However, a large number of respondents still determined some values to be outdated, with piety being the first of them. Thirty percent of respondents classified this exact value as archaic, and another 30% thought of it as unimportant. Approximately equal proportions of representatives of all age groups spoke against piety. Women thought of it as being unimportant, and men considered it obsolete.

Forty-nine percent believe that traditionalism is outdated, 34.50% of respondents consider it unimportant and 14.40% deem it obsolete. Men under 29 years of age display the most negative attitude towards traditionalism.

Top 5 obsolete values

Piety – 30%

Opportunism – 21.36%

Desire to be ahead of the game – 18.25%

Traditionalism – 14.40%

Modesty – 11.71%

What surprised us?

Some results of the survey turned out to be quite unexpected for us. For instance, open-mindedness had rather poor ratings. Currently, there is an acute need for the development of critical thinking and the ability to analyze and draw independent conclusions, due to the constantly increasing flow of information. We have repeatedly speculated about this issue on the pages of our magazine. However, only 27% of respondents consider this value as the most important one, in contrast with 23% of those who think of it as entirely unimportant. The “Desire to be ahead of the game” also gets relatively low ratings. In any case, it doesn’t conform to the “Western” image of young people as egocentric and careerist. Twenty-eight percent consider superiority over others as very important, whilst 20% think of it as unimportant. On the other hand, such values as loyalty and modesty hold a much lower position in the priority systems of Czechs and Slovaks than personal liberty and professionalism.

Certainly, this set of values and, importantly, the level of their relevance can be significantly different in various societies and countries. Therefore, we don’t come to any far-reaching conclusions. However, it is safe to say that Czechs and Slovaks are part of the European family of nations not only geographically, but also mentally.

Statistical data of the Youth Time experiment

The Youth Time Survey was conducted in the period from 10th to 28th of February, 2015 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. One thousand respondents were interviewed in Prague, Trutnov, the Litomysl region (CR), Liptovský Mikuláš and Papradno (SR).

Among those interviewed

44% – men

56% – women

73% – 18-29 years old

21% – 30-45 years old

4% – 45-65 years old

2%   > 65 years old

Design: YT

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