What are the top items on Americans’ bucket lists?

Jamie BallardData Journalist
June 24, 2021, 3:21 PM UTC

A “bucket list” is a catalog of meaningful experiences and accomplishments that a person would like to have before they die or “kick the bucket.” What do Americans say is on their bucket list?  
 
Among those who have a bucket list, the top item isn’t necessarily to see the seven wonders of the world or accomplish an impressive feat. It’s far simpler. According to YouGov data, two in five (41%) Americans who have a bucket list say one of the items on their list is to get healthier or lose weight.  

Slightly fewer (35%) say traveling to an exotic location is on their bucket list, while 29% would like to achieve a wealth goal such as paying off a student loan. A similar percentage of people would like to see a natural wonder (28%), own their own home (27%), and/or change someone’s life for the better (27%).  

Around one in five have domestic pursuits on their bucket list, like getting married (22%) and having children (17%). Some have entrepreneurial goals to check off, like starting a business (15%), writing a novel (12%), or inventing something (10%). And a few want to push the limits by trying an extreme sport like bungee jumping or skydiving (12%) or by completing an act of physical endurance, such as completing a marathon or scaling a mountain (10%).  

Gen Z’s top bucket list item is to achieve wealth

Between generations, there’s some variation when it comes to bucket list goals. Among those who are in Gen Z – born in 2000 or later -- and who have a bucket list, 41% would like to achieve a wealth goal. A similar percentage say they want to get healthier/lose weight (38%), own their own home (37%), get married (37%), and/or travel to an exotic location (35%).  

The top bucket list item for Millennials (38%), Gen X (43%), and Baby Boomers (46%) is to get healthier/lose weight.  

See full results here.  

Related: 2021 summer travel: As likely among vaccine rejectors as among the vaccinated
 
Methodology: 9,608 US adults 18+ were surveyed between June 2020 and June 2021. YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire.  Profiles data is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.