What Did You Want To Be as a Kid? 1,528 Responses + Britney Spears

By Jordan Fabel •  Updated: November 22, 2022  •  5 min read  •  Life
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As kids, most of us thought about the future. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I’m sure there are a few other people who might’ve said some crazy things; that we later found out weren’t all that great after all.

The greatest part about being a kid looking towards adulthood is the ability to dream wildly, and having the upper hand in reaching those dreams. When the primary consideration is what you WANT and not what you NEED, real passion and aspirations can flourish.

So then we got curious. What did people want to be when they grew up? Would people actually tell us? How do the answers vary across age groups? When will we finally call it ready? Where are we going to put the results? Oh wait, we’re already here.

When I Grow Up

We asked 1,529 people what they wanted to be when they grew up. They gave us 191 different responses and a ton of great comments!

Top 10 Things That Kids Wanted To Be

“I did become a teacher! 5 years in one city and 20 years in another, until I retired.”

“I decided against it once I realized I could never deal with the loss of an animal.”

“CNA for 7 years.”

“Retired after 25.5 years with the Colorado Springs Police Department.”

“No I did not. The 70s was not a good time to be a police officer in NYC.”

“My latest novel was just released. Entitled Wait For It, it’s a romcom set in Phoenix, it’s my 48th book and probably my next NYT bestseller.”

“Yes and no. Had to write a lot in my job, but never wrote the great novel.”

Top 10 Childhood Career Dreams Chart

The top 10 make up 50.8% (776) of all responses received.

112 Things We Consider Life Goals

There are so many things you can become in life, and so many paths you can take. It can really be anything. A better sleeper, an organ donor, foster parents, and then the more obvious, like the top 10.

Here are a few things people told us they wanted to be when they grew up that we consider life goals. A Good Human, A Leader, Alive, An Adult, Father, Mother, Happy, Important, Famous, In Charge, Retired, Rich, Self Made, Successful.

People like taking care of others

People Want To Help!

Did you notice that the top 10 is full of jobs that help people?

DoctorHelps sick peopleWriterHelps share imagination
TeacherHelps people learnPolice OfficerHelps protect & serve
PilotHelps us arrive safelyFirefighterHelps save life & property
LawyerHelps one sideVeterinarianHelps animals
NurseHelps sick peopleAstronautHelps research potential

While this may not be the primary motivation for everyone, the overlap is clear.

51.3% (785 People) Wanted To Be Helpers*

  • Librarian
  • Pharmacist
  • Detective
  • Mother
  • Professor
  • ZooKeeper
  • Doctor
  • Soldier
  • Pediatrician
  • Surgeon
  • Psychiatrist
  • Arbitrageur
  • Teacher
  • Police Officer
  • Anesthesiologist
  • Coach
  • Flight Attendant
  • School Counselor
  • Physical Therapist
  • Firefighter
  • Nurse
  • Translator
  • Dentist
  • Social Worker
*In the case of "helpers", we count responses that made it into our helper category and it may not be all-inclusive. In reality, like on the top 10 table above, this argument could really be made about anything since, without a benefactor, there is no motivation to become anything. 

More Childhood Dreams

Ballerina (19 people)

“Yes! I did. I danced for San Francisco Ballet for 6 years until sadly, I was injured badly in a car accident in which my back was broken. It took nearly a year in bed just to be able to walk around at an almost normal pace, and that was for a very young person who was in top physical condition.”

Non-Ballerina Professional Athlete (58 people)

  • Athlete (4)
  • Baseball Player (30)
  • Basketball Player (3)
  • Football Player (13)
  • Hockey Player (5)
  • Professional Athlete (3)

Individually, none of these made the cut for the top 10, but it was so close. #10 Pilot (31) vs Baseball Player (30). Like happens all too often in sports, none of these dream futures made the cut.

“No, but the love of the game continues 50 years later.”

“I sucked at sports.”

Marine Biologist (16 people)

This one made my list at some point during childhood. I was in for the exciting parts, like helping animals, but other than that, it wasn’t a good match at all.

“Turns out I didn’t love biology.”

Top 3 Responses – Female & Male

Teacher1 Doctor
Doctor2 Astronaut
Veterinarian3 Police Officer

Gender Breakdown of Top 10 Responses

I want to be a…FemaleMale
1. Doctor11.2%15.1%
2. Teacher13.9%4.5%
3. Astronaut4.4%6.7%
4. Veterinarian9.6%2.1%
5. Nurse7.5%1.7%
6. Lawyer4.8%3%
7. Police Officer1.1%4.9%
8. Firefighter1.1%4.3%
9. Writer2.8%0.8%
10. Pilot0.2%4.5%

Top 5 Responses from 1,079 People by Age Group

People Born 1997-2003: 51 Responses

People Born 1987-1996: 167 Responses

People Born 1977-1986: 194 Responses

People Born 1967- 1976: 218 Responses

People Born 1957-1966: 251 Responses

People Born Prior to 1956: 198 Responses

Fun Survey Responses


6 people said they wanted to be dinosaurs! No one added further detail about their species of choice.

Becoming a Paleontologist was mentioned 7 times but no one responded that they also became one.

What is a Paleontologist

No. But what can I say. Loved all the Jurassic Park movies. Always Root for the Dinos!

~Dino Fan

I did not become one, I succumbed to crushing student debt

~Paleontological Dream vs Reality
Meteor identifier was one of the many unique responses we received. Poor dinosaurs 🙁 

Close with a Laugh!

No, all the ditches had been dug.

~Aspired to be a Ditch Digger

ET & a Ghostbuster

~80’s Kids

I wanted to be Britney Spears. I am not Britney.

~Still a Fan

Helicopter & an Attack Helicopter

~Ambitious Goals

Professional Web Survey Answerer

~A Real Dreamer

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path.