Poll: Patriotism, religion, kids, lower priorities for younger Americans

Americans place less value on the importance of patriotism, religion and having children than they did two decades ago, a shift driven largely by the changing views of younger Americans, according to a new poll. 

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday found that hard work remained a top priority for Americans but that the value placed on the other three has significantly decreased.

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That compares to a poll from 21 years ago that found Americans listed hard work, patriotism, religion and having children as their top priorities.

Sixty-one percent of Americans in the new survey listed patriotism as very important to them, a 9-point drop from 1998.

Patriotism is still widely perceived as important by Americans over the age of 55, with 79 percent saying it was very important. But less than half of Americans aged 18 to 38, 42 percent, cited patriotism as a very important value. 

Forty-eight percent of Americans cited religion as very important, a 14-point decrease from 21 years ago. Younger Americans again drove the decreasing value. Sixty-seven percent of Americans over the age of 55 cited religion or belief in God as very important, compared to 30 percent of Americans aged 18 to 38, based on the poll. 

Just 43 percent of Americans said having children was very important, a 16-point decrease from 1998, based on the poll. 

The poll surveyed 1,000 adults between Aug. 10 and Aug. 14. There is a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.