Continuing a long-term trend, Americans are discouraged about the state of moral values in the U.S., with 84% calling them "only fair" or "poor" and two-thirds believing they are getting worse rather than better. These negative evaluations differ little from what Gallup has found each year since it began measuring perceptions of the nation's values in 2002 as part of its Values and Beliefs survey, conducted annually.
Americans' rating of current moral values worsened slightly this year, according to the May 3-18 survey, at the same time their outlook for those values improved slightly. As a result, there is no change in Gallup's overall moral values index, which is a composite of the two measures.
This stability, however, masks significant changes in Democrats' and Republicans' perceptions of U.S. values between 2020 and 2021. Democrats are much less negative about moral values today than they were a year ago. Conversely, Republicans' views of U.S. moral values have sunk to record lows.
After dipping to 40% in 2020, the percentage of Americans describing moral values in the U.S. as "poor" has returned to 47%, matching the 2019 reading and similar to perceptions since 2017.
Longer-term, belief that the nation's moral values are poor has increased from a low of 35% in 2003. Meanwhile, fewer have described morals as only fair, and the percentages rating them as excellent or good have remained consistently low.