The Pew survey numbers yesterday on generational views of marriage haven’t gotten as much attention as they should, given their confirmation of a trend we all know is real: we are growing more and more into a society that doesn’t believe in marriage.
We could win the DOMA fight and lose the issue. The Pew figures show just how downstream from culture politics are when it comes to views of marriage and family.
Millennials care more about parenting than their GenX forebears, but less about marriage. The percentage of Millennials saying marriage is one of the important things in life dropped to 30 percent from 35 percent among GenXers. Perhaps not surprisingly, the marriage rate has dropped from 29 to 22 percent for those under 29 years old compared to those in the previous generation.
Millennials are less likely than older generations to link marriage with parenthood. About a third of Millennials (34%) think that more unmarried couples raising children is a bad thing for society, compared with 45% of those ages 30 and older. Likewise, about six-in-ten (63%) Millennials think that single motherhood is bad for society, compared with seven-in-ten (71%) adults ages 30 and older.
Those over 65 believe 3 to 1 that a child needs a father and mother to grow up happily. Even the boomers, children of the 60s as they are, believe 61 to 34 percent that children need both parents. Among millennials today, the margin is down to 53 to 44 percent.