The Ethics of American Youth: 2006

Josephson Institute Report Card

According to a national survey of high school students by Josephson Institute, today’s young people reveal deeply entrenched habits of dishonesty.

The 2006 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, a biennial national survey conducted by Josephson Institute and released as part of National CHARACTER COUNTS! Week, October 15-21, reveals high rates of cheating, lying, and theft. See complete results here.

More than one in four of the students surveyed admit that within the past year they stole from a store, sixty percent cheated on a test, and one in three used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment.

Michael Josephson, founder and president of Josephson Institute, commented on the results: “The good news is, things aren’t getting any worse. This year’s results are almost identical to those reported in 2004. The bad news is, unacceptably high rates of dishonesty have become the norm. It doesn’t bode well for the future that so many kids are entering the workforce to become the next generation of corporate executives, cops, politicians, journalists, teachers, and parents.”

Among the highlights:

The report was based on written surveys administered by randomly selected high schools throughout the country in 2006. It includes responses from 36,122 high school students. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.