SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans
increasingly say economic concerns are among the most
important issues facing families, including the costs
associated with raising a family and high work demands and stress
on parents. The fifth annual American Family Survey, released
today, compared responses to the first survey conducted in
2015 and also found that cultural issues such as sexual
permissiveness and substance abuse have become less likely to
be named a top concern for families.
"It's telling that even at a time when the economy is strong,
people are still concerned about the cost of raising a family,
while cultural issues are no longer as relevant to them," said
Deseret News spokesperson Boyd
Matheson. "While five years is a short period of time and
may not reflect a real trend, the survey's new findings are an
interesting development and something we will be watching closely,
especially if the country shifts into a recession in the next
couple of years."
The survey revealed other changes in trends about the family
over the last five years, including:
- People consistently think their own marriages and family are
staying the same or getting stronger. But in general, they think
American families and marriages are getting weaker.
- The broad contours of family life and relationship status
remain the same as in previous years. Just under half of the adult
public is married, though this varies somewhat by demographic
group. For instance, more Republicans are married than are
independents and Democrats.
- There was a slight drop in the number of people who say
marriage is needed to create strong families. In 2015, 62% said
this was true. This year, 54% said so.
- There was a slight growth in the number who say marriage is
old-fashioned and out of date. Whereas 18% now say that, 12% did in
2015. Changes in these questions are most pronounced among the
youngest Americans, but an overwhelming majority of Americans still
say marriage is important and have positive views of the
- Most people do get married, most still want to get married and
most are happy in their marriages. But there continues to be a
pattern of economic and social status relating to marriage. The
wealthy and the educated marry more easily — about six in ten of
those making about $40,000 a year are
married. However, the number falls to only three in ten of those
making below that amount of money.
- Another hint of change is in relationship status: In 2015, a
little over half of respondents were married and about 30% were not
in a relationship at all. By 2019, 48% were married and those with
no relationship rose to 34%.
- The frequency with which families do certain activities
together is pretty stable, with slightly more having dinner
together. Republicans and Democrats display similar patterns in
terms of family life, though there is also a widening gap between
them when it comes to worshiping together as a family, with
Republicans growing more likely to say they do this while Democrats
become less likely to say so.
This year's survey also asked whether seven trends involving
family patterns have increased, decreased, or stayed the same over
the past 10 years, finding that Americans have several
misperceptions about social trends affecting families, including
whether the divorce rate, teen sex and births outside of marriage
Additionally, the survey looked at family leave and found that
Americans generally favor a national paid family leave policy, with
a majority favoring coverage of maternity leave and a minority
favoring coverage of time off to care for a sick parent, child or
spouse. But they don't favor new government programs or changes to
Social Security in order to fund it. The survey asked about four
proposed bills currently in Congress (without revealing which bills
are sponsored by Republicans or Democrats) and found that no single
proposal has the support of a majority of Americans.
The American Family Survey is an annual, nationwide study of
3,000 Americans by the Deseret News and the Center for the Study of
Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young
University and conducted by YouGov. Now in its fifth year,
the survey seeks to understand the experiences of Americans in
their relationships, marriages and families, and how those
experiences relate to a variety of public policy issues.
These results, along will the full report and survey
methodology, are available at:
The survey's findings will be discussed during a moderated panel
event at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13:
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SOURCE Deseret News