Notes: Money & The American Freshman
In some digging this weekend I stumbled upon this research on American Freshman that has been going on since the 1960s. Here was a fascinating switch that happened in the 1970s:
Especially notable are changes in two contrasting value statements: The importance of "developing a meaningful philosophy of life" and of "being very well off financially" In the late 1960s developing a meaningful philosophy of life was the top value, being endorsed as an "essential" or "very important" goal by more than 80 percent of the entering freshmen. Being very well off financially, on the other hand, lagged far behind in the late 1960s, ranking fifth or sixth on the list with less than 45 percent of the freshmen endorsing it as a very important or essential goal in life. Since that time these two values have basically traded places, with being very well off financially now the top value (at 73.6 percent endorsement) and developing a meaningful philosophy of life now occupying sixth place at only 43.1 percent endorsement
I extracted the data and put this into chart form because I love graphs:
Something happened in the 1970s to convince incoming college graduates that money was the most essential “objective” AND that developing a meaningful philosophy of life was the value that was no longer important.