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7 Figures: Marriage, Family, and Economics in America

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7figuresThe 2016 American Family Survey was designed to understand the “lived experiences of Americans in their relationships and families” and provide “context for understanding Americans’ life choices, economic experiences, attitudes about their own relationships, and evaluations of the relationships they see around them.”

Here are seven figures you should know from this recently released survey:

1. When asked what specific challenges are making family life difficult, one-third (32 percent) said the costs associated with raising a family, one-fourth (27 percent) said high work demands and stress on parents, one-fifth (22 percent) said the lack of good jobs, and one in ten (10 percent) said lack of government programs to support families.

2. Overall, 27 percent said that the cost of raising a child/children is affordable for most people. But the responses varied considerably by political ideology: 39 percent for conservatives, 23 percent for moderates, and only 19 percent for liberals.

3. Conservatives were also more likely to say that it is important for parents to pass on their political values to their children. Almost half of conservatives (46 percent) said it was important, compared to 26 percent for moderates and 30 percent for liberals.

4. When asked if their partners support them in their child-rearing efforts, low-income respondents were substantially less likely to agree more likely to respond neutrally. A little over half of low-income respondents (59 percent) said they felt support, compared to more than 75 percent of middle and high-income Americans.

5. Just over one in ten respondents (13 percent) skipped meals because of a lack of funds or avoided going to the doctor because of the cost (14 percent). Smaller numbers were dislocated to the homes of family or friends (6 percent) or stayed at a shelter, in car, etc., even for one night (2 percent).

6. Respondents with children living at home were especially likely to have experienced an economic crisis. About 46 percent of respondents with children currently in the home said they had experienced at least one of the economic challenges listed compared with about 34 percent of respondents without children at home. Among low income respondents with children currently living in the home, more than 60 percent reported experiencing an economic crisis in the past year.

7. Four in ten respondents (40 percent) were unable to accrue savings for more than a month’s worth of their needs. This figure rises to nearly six in ten (59 percent) for those who are making less than $30,000 a year. But even among the highest income group (more than $100,000 per year), fifteen percent were unable to save for more than a month’s worth of their needs.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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