<< The Body Politic

Military Seen as Contributing Most to Society

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Despite contentious conflicts abroad, Americans continue to hold the military in the highest regard. A new poll by Pew asked Americans which professions contribute to society’s well-being, and the results may surprise you.

The military was once again the most highly rated group for their contributions to America with 78% of those polled believing they contribute “a lot” to society. Teachers were not far below at 72%, though the trend in perceived contribution for both groups was negative compared to 2009’s results.

Readers may be surprised to learn that just 37% of those polled believe the clergy contributes a lot to society, with artists (30%), journalists (28%), and lawyers (18%) perceived as even less beneficial.

The support for the military was extremely broad, with strong support at every demographic level, cutting across socioeconomic lines.

On balance, the military is viewed positively by all major social and demographic groups. Men and women are about equally likely to see the military as contributing a lot to society. And there are no significant differences in views on the military’s contribution to society among adults younger and older than age 50 or among those with differing levels of formal schooling.

For another perspective about what various professions contribute to civic life, consider our Professions and Civic Culture project, with articles on the literary profession, music, economics, and civic education.