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Research Statistics

  • Researchers James Patterson and Peter Kim report in The Day America Told the Truth that 70 percent of Americans say they have no living heroes.
  • Researchers for the World Almanac and Book of Facts asked 2000 American eighth-grade students to name prominent people they admired and wanted to be like. Those most frequently mentioned by the teens as their heroes were celebrities such as Burt Reynolds, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and the late John Belushi. Commenting on this, columnist Sidney J. Harris lamented the fact that every one of the 30 prominent personalities who were named was either an entertainer or an athlete. He noted that statesmen, authors, painters, musicians, architects, doctors, and astronauts failed to capture the imagination of those students. He further suggested that the heroes and heroines created by our society are people who have made it big, but not necessarily people who have done big things.

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