Survey reveals the top 10 bucket list items for Americans

Do you have a bucket list? Do you continually think about things to add and remove from your list, tweaking them so they fit your personality, goals, and dreams? A bucket list is essentially a “to-do” list of items you want to experience, accomplish, or enjoy at some point in your life. It can act as inspiration and give you something to look forward to.

Because creating a bucket list can be such a positive thing, it’s no wonder that there is a day meant for celebrating it. National Bucket List Day takes place on April 24. It is a great opportunity to either reassess your list or create your first bucket list. But what happens if you’re stuck on which items to add to your bucket list? A survey looked at what some of the most common bucket list items are for Americans – although we know not every one of these will items will be goals for everyone.


Bucket list destinations - Euro trip
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While each person is unique, statistics from YouGov show that there are some top items that Americans tend to add to their bucket list. The data was gathered from June 2020 – June 2021 and represented findings from people aged 18 and over. Rather than a one-time survey, the results were continuously collected, and rolling surveys were used.

Scrolling through the complete data, it’s also clear there was a balanced approach, with responses from Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, baby boomers, and even the “silent generation.” Overall, 9,608 adults were surveyed, and some general information can be gleaned from it.

Here’s a look at the top 10 bucket list items that Americans are choosing.

Get Healthier/Lose Weight

Couple exercising together
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A health goal is ranked as the top item to add to a bucket list. Getting healthier, which goes hand-in-hand with losing weight, is all about putting one’s well-being first. It’s hard to achieve all your goals and aspirations if poor health holds you back, so this goal makes much sense.

The good news is that getting healthy and losing weight doesn’t have to be confusing. The key tips are to be active daily and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Visit an Exotic Destination

Overwater Bungalows in Mo'orea French Polynesia
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jon Ruiz Ortiz

Traveling is often found on people’s bucket lists, which is why this is second in the rankings. But it’s not just any type of holiday. Rather, it is visiting an exotic destination. This can mean different things to different people; the general idea is that they want to visit a new-to-them place that feels fresh and new compared to what they experience at home.

An exotic destination usually requires international travel, which means the cost is higher, which is why it’s a bucket list item.

A Financial-Related Goal

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Here’s a goal that ranked high among all age groups: achieving a financial goal. This goal is relatively broad as it can mean something different to each person. It could mean paying off student loans, paying off a credit card, paying off a car, saving enough money for a big item, and so forth. This goal is also the kind that can change with time as your goals and financial situation change.

Visit a Natural World Wonder

Sunrise at Toroweap in Grand Canyon National Park.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / LHBLLC

The Natural World Wonders are nothing short of spectacular, which is why this is such a popular bucket list item. The seven Natural World Wonders are Mount Everest, the Northern Lights, Victoria Falls, the Great Barrier Reef, The Grand Canyon, The Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, and Paricutin Volcano.

Interestingly enough, the Gen Z group had the highest percentage of respondents picking it compared to the other age groups. That may have something to do with their awareness and learning about the world around them. Reading about Natural World Wonders and seeing pictures online just isn’t enough.

Own a Home

Real estate agent with house model and keys
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Alexander Raths

This one could easily fall under “financial goals,” but it’s such a popular bucket list item that it has a separate response. Owning a home is a source of pride and accomplishment for many, and in today’s competitive real estate market—with prices higher than ever before—it can seem like a lofty goal.

For those reasons, people are now looking at smaller homes and affordable mortgage programs that address affordability issues.

Change Someone’s Life – Have a Positive Impact

Nice joyful woman smiling while giving her old coat to a pleasant aged woman
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dmytro Zinkevych

Personal achievements and experiences are always popular on a bucket list, but here’s one you may not expect to see. Also in the top 10 bucket list items is an opportunity to change someone’s life and make a positive difference. This is a feel-good item that is also a win-win for both parties. It could be that you help them through a challenging situation, offer financial help, emotional support, and many other ways to make a difference.

Remember, changing someone’s life doesn’t mean it has to be someone you know. Donating to a charity or a blood bank can be equally as impactful.

Get Married

Happy wedding photography of bride and groom at wedding ceremony.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Wedding and lifestyle

Getting married is still in the top 10, but many other goals and items are above it. Still, getting married is a popular goal with many, especially in the Gen Z age group. This makes sense because they are technically around the traditional “marrying age.” However, marriage seems to be on the decline in the US, so this could eventually fall out of the top 10 bucket list items.

Master a New Language

Languages learning and translate, communication and travel concept, books with covers in colors of flags of Europe countries, laptop and globe on a table in a modern interior
Image Credit: Shutterstock / cybrain

Mastering a new language is no simple task and can take years to achieve. This kind of goal requires work and dedication since it’s a long-term result. Learning a new language can help if you’re traveling, conversing with friends, and even help to broaden your career opportunities.

Have Kids

Charming little girl and her beautiful young parents are doing jigsaw puzzle and smiling while lying on the floor at home
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Having kids is another bucket list item that typically appears in rankings but is nowhere near the top. Having kids can be the most meaningful thing you do with your life, but it’s likely the toughest thing you’ll do. This is why so many people are waiting to have kids, ensuring they are ready for the commitment and responsibility.

Start a Business

High-five for success! Two cheerful young business people giving high-five while their colleagues looking at them and smiling
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Do you dream of being your own boss? If so, you aren’t alone. Starting your own business also ranks among the top 10 most popular bucket list items. Both millennials and Gen Z consider this to be an important bucket list item, as it allows them to carve out their career path and be more in control.

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