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Forget astronaut: YouTube is a more intriguing work frontier than space for today's kids

Dalvin Brown

Neil Armstrong will always be remembered as the man who inspired generations of kids to reach for the stars after his historic 1969 moonwalk showed the world that a career in spaceflight was possible.

That is — until YouTube came along.

Today, kids in the U.S. would much rather be YouTube stars, according to a new survey created to commemorate to the space launch of Apollo 11 which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Lego, found that children in the U.S. and the United Kingdom were three times more likely to want to be YouTubers compared to astronauts when they grow up.

Once a popular choice among kids in the West, only 11% of children said they had their sights set on the stars in the solar system compared to the 30% of children who said they wanted to be vloggers or YouTube stars. 

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The online survey asked 3,000 kids from the U.S., U.K. and China to rank their preferences for five different jobs including astronaut, musician, professional athlete, teacher, or vlogger/YouTuber. 

Kids on smartphones

Second to vlogger, 26% of American kids ages 8 to 12 ranked teacher as their job of choice. Professional athlete (23%) and musician (19%) were also ranked above being an astronaut, which was the least popular choice. 

Respondents in China, however, said that astronaut was the most desirable job, with 56% of kids saying that’s what they wanted to be later in life. Meanwhile, “YouTuber” was the least popular choice in China at just 16%. 

For now, it's unclear why kids in the Western world find space professions less interesting than those in China. It could be that China's educational system more strongly emphasizes the importance of science, technology, engineering and math-related jobs. The cultural and political landscape may also play a role. 

In an effort to get more kids worldwide open to the idea of space travel, Lego has partnered with Scholastic on an educational program that will send 50 children to NASA Space Camp in 2020. 

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Be on YouTube or go to space? American kids would rather be vloggers