Monitoring the Future

I received a letter today from the University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future.” Last spring, I participated in a survey along with my fellow 2005 classmates on identifying the “changing behaviors, attitudes, and preferences of American youth.” They poll from 17,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders across the nation in over 125 high schools. The preliminary results are out, and here is what they said:

  • “Alcohol continues to be the most widely used drug among students of all grade levels.”
  • “…by 2005, the number of students in the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades who reported smoking cigarettes was down significantly [from the early 1990’s]”
  • “The importance of a good marriage and family life has remained consistently high [since the survey started in 1975], especially for female seniors.”
  • “In 1976, just about the same number of female seniors rated having a successful career as being extremely important, but in the 1990s, women surpassed men in their emphasis on this aspect of life.”
  • “Since 1976, males have become increasingly more likely to place importance on recreational free time than have females.”
  • 79% of respondants agreed with the statement: “People will have to change their buying habits and way of life to correct our environmental problems.”
  • 62% of respondants agreed with the statement: “Government should place higher taxes on products which cause pollution in their manufacture or disposal, so that companies will be encourages to find better ways to produce them.”
  • 44% of respondants were willing “to consider mass transit or a bicycle rather than a car to get to work.”
  • 66% of respondants would be “willing to eat less meat and more vegetables, if it would help provide food for starving people.”

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