Family planning, higher education are priorities globally: Nielsen poll

Posed photo of a family looking at a photo album. Family planning, higher education and quality time with loved ones are priorities for people around the world, according to a new global Nielsen survey focusing on lifestyle values released on Friday.
Posed photo of a family looking at a photo album. Family planning, higher education and quality time with loved ones are priorities for people around the world, according to a new global Nielsen survey focusing on lifestyle values released on Friday. -- ST FILE PHOTO: ALAN LIM

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Family planning, higher education and quality time with loved ones are priorities for people around the world, according to a new global Nielsen survey focusing on lifestyle values released on Friday.

The Nielsen poll of more than 29,000 people in 58 countries also showed that most people think women should have a say in important household issues, but opinions diverged on how the roles of wife and mother are perceived.

"It was very striking that spending quality time with family was the No. 1 most important item," said Mr James Russo, senior vice president of Global Consumer Insights of Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights.

In Nielsen's first poll on lifestyle values, 80 per cent of people surveyed said that spending time with family was most important, with the number rising to 88 per cent in Latin America.

"One of the more interesting findings is the consistency in these values," Mr Russo added, "which tells us that we are similar in many ways."

Family planning, or deciding on how many children to have, was a top issue, with 77 per cent of people saying it was important, particularly in Latin America.

In largely Catholic countries such as Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico, 90 per cent or more agreed that it was crucial, compared to 45 percent of Norwegians and more than 50 per cent of Danes and French.

The rating for higher education was similar around the world, with 78 per cent of people globally saying it was a priority.

In emerging markets like the Philippines, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, 90 per cent or more said higher education was crucial, compared to 35 per cent in Thailand and 37 per cent in Austria.

"The importance of a higher education really came to the forefront," said Mr Russo. "Education is the engine for growth." He added that a swift rate of change in emerging markets is being driven by a desire for higher education and financial stability.

Although 76 per cent of people questioned thought women should have a say in household issues, only 43 per cent agreed that the most important role for a woman was as a wife and mother, with ratings ranging from around 30 per cent in North America and the Asia-Pacific region to 63 per cent in Latin America.

Forty-six percent of men globally, compared to 39 per cent of women, agreed about women's wife/mother role.

The survey also showed wide cultural differences about religion. In the Middle East and Africa, 71 per cent thought it was a guiding source. But the number dropped to 20 per cent in Europe and around 35 per cent in the rest of the world.

Around the globe religion was more important to men than women.

Nielsen conducted the online poll around the globe between Aug 10 and Sept 7, 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus 0.6 per cent.