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Family planning, higher education are priorities globally: Nielsen poll

By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Family planning, higher education and quality time with loved ones are priorities for people around the world, according to a new global Nielsen survey focusing on lifestyle values released on Friday.

The Nielsen poll of more than 29,000 people in 58 countries also showed that most people think women should have a say in important household issues, but opinions diverged on how the roles of wife and mother are perceived.

"It was very striking that spending quality time with family was the No. 1 most important item," said James Russo, senior vice president of Global Consumer Insights of Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights.

In Nielsen's first poll on lifestyle values, 80 percent of people surveyed said that spending time with family was most important, with the number rising to 88 percent in Latin America.

"One of the more interesting findings is the consistency in these values," Russo added, "which tells us that we are similar in many ways."

Family planning, or deciding on how many children to have, was a top issue, with 77 percent of people saying it was important, particularly in Latin America.

In largely Catholic countries such as Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico, 90 percent or more agreed that it was crucial, compared to 45 percent of Norwegians and more than 50 percent of Danes and French.

The rating for higher education was similar around the world, with 78 percent of people globally saying it was a priority.

In emerging markets like the Philippines, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, 90 percent or more said higher education was crucial, compared to 35 percent in Thailand and 37 percent in Austria.

"The importance of a higher education really came to the forefront," said Russo. "Education is the engine for growth."

He added that a swift rate of change in emerging markets is being driven by a desire for higher education and financial stability.

Although 76 percent of people questioned thought women should have a say in household issues, only 43 percent agreed that the most important role for a woman was as a wife and mother, with ratings ranging from around 30 percent in North America and the Asia-Pacific region to 63 percent in Latin America.

Forty-six percent of men globally, compared to 39 percent of women, agreed about women's wife/mother role.

The survey also showed wide cultural differences about religion. In the Middle East and Africa, 71 percent thought it was a guiding source. But the number dropped to 20 percent in Europe and around 35 percent in the rest of the world.

Around the globe religion was more important to men than women.

Nielsen conducted the online poll around the globe between August 10 and September 7, 2012. The margin of error is plus or minus 0.6 percent.

(This story fixes typo in headline in July 12 story)

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

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