Although most Americans have a positive view about marriage, there is considerable skepticism about the societal benefits that marriage and parenthood confer. Overall, roughly six in 10 (62 percent) Americans believe society is just as well off if people have priorities other than getting married and having children. Thirty-seven percent say society benefits when people make marriage and child-rearing priorities.
Younger Americans are least likely to see the societal value in marriage and parenthood. Forty-four percent of seniors (age 65 or older) say a society that prioritizes marriage and child-rearing is better off, while only one-quarter (25 percent) of young adults (age 18 to 29) say the same. Roughly three-quarters (74 percent) of young adults believe society is just as well off if people have other goals.
The generation gap is even larger among men. Senior men are about twice as likely as young men to say that society is better off when marriage and child-rearing are priorities (51 percent vs. 26 percent).
Liberals and conservatives are sharply at odds over the societal importance of family formation. A majority (57 percent) of conservatives believe society is better off when marriage and child-rearing are priorities, a view shared by only 19 percent of liberals.
The generational shift in attitudes cuts across ideology but is far larger among conservatives. Older liberals are somewhat more likely than young liberals to embrace the notion that society benefits when getting married and having children are priorities (23 percent vs. 15 percent). Large majorities of both age groups reject this idea. In contrast, older conservatives are far more likely than young conservatives to believe in the societal benefit of people prioritizing marriage and children (64 percent vs. 37 percent).
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Friday, February 11, 2022
Attitudes Toward Marriage and Society
Daniel A. Cox at the Survey Center on American Life: