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Which country shares your parenting values?

BY Frank Bi, Elizabeth Shell and Vanessa Dennis  May 13, 2014 at 2:31 PM EDT

Not everyone agrees on the best methods for raising kids. That becomes apparent when you examine the results from the 2010-2014 World Values Survey — 82,000 adults across 54 countries were surveyed to gain a better understanding of what they consider most important when raising a child, whether or not they were parents themselves.

This interactive uses the survey data to show which country has values closest to yours.

The survey, which was first held in 1980, asks about 250 questions about personal values. One question set focuses on parenting children. The respondents were asked to select which of 11 qualities they considered to be especially important for children to learn.

Our interactive is slightly different than the survey. While we ask you to rank all 11, the survey asked respondents to indicate which ones they thought were especially important. So while not an apples-to-apples comparison, our interactive gives us a good approximation of the survey results. The ranking you choose is used to compute a coefficient, a number between -1 and 1, which determines how correlated your list is to another list in the data set. 1 means the two lists are perfectly correlated while a -1 means the two lists are perfectly negatively correlated.

By aggregating the data, we can get an overall idea of what people in each country consider important qualities to teach children at home.

For example, tolerance was the most-mentioned quality by people in Sweden — 82.5 percent named it as one of the qualities they thought was important to teach children at home. About 72 percent of Americans mentioned tolerance, while just over 19 percent chose the same in Nigeria.

The quality mentioned most by Estonians? Responsibility — leading at 88.4 percent. Same for Ecuadorians, at 75 percent. For Egyptians, religious faith was the most popular choice — 83.4 percent said so.

When we group countries by geographical or cultural regions, more interesting patterns emerge, according to Juan Díez Nicolás, the WVS Vice Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee.

“For example for the Anglo-Saxon countries [United States, Australia, and New Zealand in this survey], tolerance is the highest quality — 79 percent — to teach children. Self-expression is the lowest. Not even 30 percent of people mentioned it,” he said. “But in the EU countries, responsibility is the most-mentioned quality to teach children. The least-mentioned is religious faith. In Anglo-Saxon countries that wouldn’t be the case.”

“For Eastern Europe and the Balkans, which used to the domain of the former Soviet Union, [where] they have been influenced by Communism and so on, Marxism, Leninism, the highest-mentioned quality is hard work,” Diaz said. “The least-mentioned is imagination.”

According to Diaz’s analysis, the most-frequently mentioned quality in countries that make up North Africa and the Middle East is religious faith, followed by tolerance and respect for others, and then responsibility.

Responsibility was the most-mentioned in Asian countries, followed by independence. “The only other group that mentions independence is the EU. It is one of [their] three highest values,” he said. In Latin America, as in Anglo-Saxon countries, tolerance was the highest-mentioned quality. The least, again, was imagination.

Religious faith was the most polarized out of the 11 values. Ten countries mentioned religious faith more than any other value and a dozen mentioned it least. No other quality had such heavy and relatively equal distributions for most and least.

See all the data in a spreadsheet here.