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The World’s Most Influential Values, In One Graphic

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The World’s Most Influential Values, In One Graphic

Our basic values can inform ideals, interests, political preferences, environmental views, and even career choices.

With sweeping data covering half a million surveys in 152 languages, Valuegraphics identifies 56 values that influence human behavior. It uncovers what people care most about around the world, through a contextualized dataset.

The 10 Most Important Values

Individual motivations and values are universally organized. That said, research shows that the hierarchy of these values varies significantly.

According to Valuegraphics, here are the top 10 values we share across cultures.

RankValue
1Family
2Relationships
3Financial Security
4Belonging
5Community
6Personal Growth
7Loyalty
8Religion/Spirituality
9Employment Security
10Personal Responsibility

While it may not be surprising that family emerges as the most important value globally, it’s interesting to note that a number of other ‘connectedness’ values—such as relationships and belonging—emerged in the top 10. Values of loyalty, and religion/spirituality ranked #6, and #7, respectively.

At the same time, security-related values, including financial and employment security, score highly around the world.

From a business and leadership context, values are interesting in that they can guide how people and consumers make their decisions. As people interact with the world, different experiences can ‘engage’ their most closely-held values.

“If you can understand what your target audience cares about, what they spend their lives chasing, now you have an actual chance to use data to understand how to engage and influence and motivate them.”

-David Allison, Founder of Valuegraphics

The Full List of the 56 Most Influential Values

Covering 401 metrics and 370 questions, how did all 56 values break down within the extensive Valuegraphics database on a global level?

RankValue
1Family
2Relationships
3Financial Security
4Belonging
5Community
6Personal Growth
7Loyalty
8
Religion/Spirituality
9
Employment Security
10
Personal Responsibility
11Basic Needs
12Harmony
13Health/Well-being
14Experiences
15Respect
16Compassion
17Social Standing
18
Creativity & Imagination
19
Trustworthiness/Honesty
20Security
21Education
22Tradition
23Balance
24Love
25
Material Possessions
26Patience
27Morality
28Righteousness
29Friendships
30Authority
31
Positive Environments
32Happiness
33Ambition
34Self-Control
35Self-Expression
36
Environmentalism
37Independence
38Wealth
39Politeness
40Generosity
41Equality
42Service to others
43Dependability
44Courage
45Cooperation
46Tolerance
47Leisure
48Influence
49Intimacy
50Political Freedom
51Peace
52Money
53Unselfishness
54Confidence
55Freedom of Speech
56Determination

Across nine regions, the value of social standing stood at #17, while environmentalism came in at #36. Interestingly, both values of wealth (#38) and money (#52) ranked lower on the spectrum.

Meanwhile, respect (#15) and compassion (#16) values fell closer to the top.

Windows of Insight

While many similarities exist across cultures, a number of fascinating differences emerge.

Take morality, for example. Across all regions, it illustrated some of the widest variance—it was the second-most important value in the Middle East, whereas it came in near the bottom in Central and South America. Another notable outlier surrounds the value of patience. The African region placed the value within its top five. By contrast, it ranked globally about mid-way (#26) through the list.

Another fascinating discovery is how both North America and the Middle East ranked the value of authority—both ranked it equally (#17), significantly higher than the global average of #30. Meanwhile, the value of tradition saw the highest ranking in Central & South America, but the lowest in Europe.

As the world becomes increasingly complex, understanding how values impact our attitudes and behaviors can help us deepen our understanding across several avenues of life. Consumer research, marketing, leadership, psychology, and many other disciplines all fall within the broad spectrum of the influence of what humans value.

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