When we look at the average values in society, we might think that everyone, or at least most people reflect this. But, in reality, the people in our study reported a wide range of values as being the most personally important to them.

The graph below shows just how diverse our population is when it comes to values. While BENEVOLENCE was the most important value when we looked values on average in our last blog, just 37% of Australian chose this as their most important value. Another 17% chose SECURITY as their most important value. These two values account for just over half of Australians; the rest of us are spread across all the other values (see Table below).

Given that we asked almost 7,500 people about their values, even 1% means that around 75 people in our sample placed the most importance on values like POWER and CONFORMITY. In fact, all of the values we measure are at least somewhat desirable in society; even those values we personally don’t subscribe to.

In every society, we need people who place the most importance on BENEVOLENCE (being loyal, dependable, honest, helpful, kind, forgiving), but we also need people who place the most importance on POWER (authority, wealth and social power). We need those who are prepared to take positions of influence, but we probably don’t need too many…

Stay tuned for our next Values Project blog post, where we begin to explore the relationships between personal values and demographics like age, gender, education and religion.

*Note. Percentages do not add to 100 as individuals could have more than one most important value. 84% of respondents had one single most important value: 97% had two or less, and 99.5% had three or less equally prioritised most important values