The percentages of high school seniors indicating that certain values were very important to them have changed over time. Greater percentages of seniors in 2004 than in 1972 reported that being able to give their children better opportunities was very important to them (83 vs. 67 percent); the same was true of the percentages who valued living close to parents (25 vs. 8 percent) and making money (35 vs. 18 percent). In contrast, 20 percent of seniors in 2004 said that working to correct social problems was very important to them, compared with 27 percent of seniors in 1972.
In 2004, the importance of many of these values varied across demographic groups. For example, 43 percent of males reported that making money was very important, compared with 28 percent of females. In addition, 18 percent of males reported that working to correct social problems was very important compared with 21 percent of females. While a majority of high school seniors indicated that being able to give their children a better opportunity was very important to them, greater percentages of Black (92 percent) and Hispanic (90 percent) seniors held this view than did White (79 percent) and Asian (85 percent) seniors. Furthermore, a greater percentage of seniors in the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) quartile (24 percent) indicated that working to correct social problems was important to them than did their peers in the middle two quartiles (18 percent) and the highest SES quartile (19 percent).