New insights coming from a recent Pew Research Center survey found that only about one-third of Americans believe that society is better off if "people make marriage and having children a priority." Up to 64% believe that society is "just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children." More interestingly, white evangelicals who hold more traditional worldviews on the matter are the ones who prioritize marriage and children above other things.
According to the Christian Headlines, the new Pew Research Center survey found that among white evangelicals, a little more than half or 56% believe that society is better off with marriage and procreation, while only 41% believe that other priorities work as well.
The survey found that white evangelicals are the only religious subgroup that showed majority support for marriage and procreation. Meanwhile, only 35% of Catholics, 36% of Black Protestants, and 35% of white non-evangelical Protestants are all within the 40% of that specific answer.
Sixteen percent of those who identified as religiously unaffiliated said that society is better off prioritizing marriage and raising children, while a majority or 82% think that society is just as well off with other priorities.
"These patterns extend to measures of religious observance, too," Pew's Stephanie Kramer explained in an online analysis of the results of the new survey. "For example, highly religious people - those who say religion is very important in their lives and those who attend religious services regularly - are more likely than Americans who say religion is less important or attend religious services less frequently to say that society is better off if people prioritize marriage and procreation."
There is also a stark difference in the beliefs of those politically affiliated. Half or 50% of Republicans said they believe society is better off prioritizing marriage and childrearing, versus only 22% of Democrats.
The survey comes after Pope Francis criticized people for choosing to have pets rather than children earlier this month. During a general audience at the Vatican, the 85 year old Pontiff called out people who chose pets over actual human children, calling them selfish.
"Today...we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child," Pope Francis said. "Sometimes they have one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children. This may make people laugh but it is a reality."
Pope Francis argued that having pets was "a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity" and that "civilization grows old without humanity because we lose the richness of fatherhood and motherhood, and it is the country that suffers."
In May 2021, CNBC reported that families in the U.S. spend on average $8,355 annually on child care for each of their children, which "can hamper parents' employment opportunities and impact household budgets." A survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Bankrate found that on average, at least $750 is spent by parents per child per month during the school year and an average of $834 for summer child care.
Before the COVID pandemic, American families spent about $9,200 to $9,600 per child on child care, the nonprofit Child Care Aware found. Married couples often spent 10% of their household income on child care, while single parents would spend up to 34% of their income for the same purpose.