A Pew Research Center survey found proof of the generation gap so many people usually only talk about, sort of. Pew conducted a wide-ranging survey about views on marriage and parenting and found some striking differences between adults age 18-64 and those 65 and older.
On the question of whether two adults living together outside of marriage is bad for society, the 18-to-64 age group said “yes” 41 percent of the time. More than 60 percent of the 65-plus group said cohabitation is bad for society. The survey found nearly half of all people in their 30s and 40s (47 percent) had spent at least part of their life living with a partner they were not married to.
When faced with the question of whether unmarried couples having children was bad for society, 57 percent of the younger group said “yes” and 73 percent of the older group said “yes.” More than a third of the 18- to 64-year-olds said it doesn’t make much difference, while only 18 percent of the 65-plus group said the same. Four in 10 births in the United States are to unwed mothers, the study found.
Another finding that reveals a difference in generational attitudes involves children and marriage. In 1990, 65 percent of respondents said children are very important to a successful marriage; children ranked third on a list of nine items important to a successful marriage. In this year’s survey, only 41 percent ranked children as very important to a successful marriage, and kids fell to eighth on the list of nine items.
For more information on this survey, visit http://pewresearch.org.