Acton Institute Powerblog

7 Figures: Marriage, family, and economics in 2017

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The 2017 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. Most respondents believe economic issues are one of the core challenges facing families. People who had experienced an economic crisis in the past year (41 percent), such as not having the money to pay an important bill in full, not going to the doctor’s office because of the cost, or going hungry because they could not afford food, were about 10percentage points more likely to choose economic problems as those who had not experienced such a crisis. But even among the non-crisis group, more than half chose economic problems, too.

2. When asked what specific challenges are making family life difficult, one-third (34 percent) said the costs associated with raising a family, nearly one-third (29 percent) said high work demands and stress on parents, one-fifth (21 percent) said the lack of good jobs, and just under one in ten (9 percent) said lack of government programs to support families.

3. Solid believe that marriages makes families and kids better off financially (66 percent), that marriage is needed to make strong families (63 percent), and that when more people are married, society is better off (56 percent).

4. Almost all groups surveyed believe the minimum wage should increase. Urban voters are a little under $1 higher in their desired minimum wage than the average. Rural voters are a little less than $1lower in their desired minimum wage than the average. Clinton voters want a wage that is almost $2 higher than the average while Trump voters want one that is over $2 lower than the average. Although, even in the case of Trump voters, they still prefer a minimum wage more than a dollar higher than the current $7.25 per hour.

5. Americans generally give high ratings to two government programs: Food Stamps (61 percent) and Medicaid and Health Subsidies (63 percent). Three quarters of Clinton voters support those programs (75 percent and 76 percent, respectively) while only a majority of Trump voters do (50 percent and 52 percent, respectively).

6. When men are primed to think about an ideal situation in which money is not an issue, about 30 percent say they prefer full-time work, one-third choose no work at all, and about 37percent say they have a preference for part-time work. When women are primed to set financial concerns aside, only 16 percent choose full-time work, 45 percent want part-time work, and 40 percent say they want no work at all.

7. About 12 percent of the respondents with children reported their occupation as homemakers. These are predominantly women, though a small number of men fall into this category, too. One-third of homemakers (33 percent) are in the lowest income category, 60 percent are classified as middle income, and only 8 percent have high family incomes.

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).