What do you prioritize most? If you could choose between family, friends, sleep, work, and fitness, which one would you put first? We asked this question to 1004 adults between the ages of 18 and 64 and found that the vast majority prioritized family.

Overall, 58.8% of those surveyed said that family was the most important. Older generations put the most emphasis on family — 70.6% of 55-64 year olds chose family, while only 51.5% of 18-24 year olds and 64.9% of 25-34 year olds chose family. After family, people prioritized sleep, work, friends, and then fitness.


So why family? Various studies have shown how powerful the bonds of family actually are both neurologically and psychologically. For example, just the sound of a mother’s voice can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase oxytocin.

Though family was the dominant answer across all groups, older generations likely prioritized it most because they are married and/or have children. In 2013, 86% of Americans 45 and older had children, and 40% of people between the ages of 18-40 who didn’t have kids said they wanted them someday.

Given that family was prioritized so highly, it was surprising that friends were not a close second. People placed sleep and work before friends, which was only prioritized by 8.5% of respondents. This may be because people already feel connected to friends through social media and texting, so they don’t feel like they have to make friends a priority.

Though people may feel connected, interestingly they spend a much larger proportion of their time watching TV than socializing according to the Bureau of Labor statistics. On the average day, people watch 2.49 hours of TV, and only spend 38 minutes socializing.

With our busy schedules — work commitments, social activities, family events — it’s hard to find time for everything. So when you have to choose, what do you prioritize most?