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Technology & Ideas

For Thanksgiving, Some Answers on the Meaning of Life

Around the world, family took the top spot for reasons to be grateful in a new Pew survey. A more surprising result: Jobs came in second.

For most, family, friends, and the ability to take care of them, provide plenty to be thankful for.

For most, family, friends, and the ability to take care of them, provide plenty to be thankful for.

Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images 

It’s Thanksgiving season, and whatever your manner of celebration, chances are that you’ll enjoy some time off from work. If, like most of us, you’re gathering with family and friends, you might even pause to consider what exactly gives meaning to your life.

And just in time for the long weekend, Pew Research Center is out with a survey of 19,000 people in 17 developed countries on exactly that question. Respondents were given 17 possible sources of meaning and asked to rank them. What’s remarkable is how consistent the answers are — but also how the U.S. is different.