Monday, July 23, 2007

Pew Survey Shows Us a Changing America

Pew published a new survey earlier this month, looking at Americans' views of marriage and parenthood. Here's the executive summary:
  • A Generation Gap in Behaviors and Values. Younger adults attach far less moral stigma than do their elders to out-of-wedlock births and cohabitation without marriage. They engage in these behaviors at rates unprecedented in U.S. history. Nearly four-in-ten (36.8%) births in this country are to an unmarried woman. Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 30s and 40s have spent a portion of their lives in a cohabiting relationship.

  • Public Concern over the Delinking of Marriage and Parenthood. Adults of all ages consider unwed parenting to be a big problem for society. At the same time, however, just four-in-ten (41%) say that children are very important to a successful marriage, compared with 65% of the public who felt this way as recently as 1990.

  • Marriage Remains an Ideal, Albeit a More Elusive One. Even though a decreasing percentage of the adult population is married, most unmarried adults say they want to marry. Married adults are more satisfied with their lives than are unmarried adults.

  • Children Still Vital to Adult Happiness. Children may be perceived as less central to marriage, but they are as important as ever to their parents. As a source of adult happiness and fulfillment, children occupy a pedestal matched only by spouses and situated well above that of jobs, career, friends, hobbies and other relatives.

  • Cohabitation Becomes More Prevalent. With marriage exerting less influence over how adults organize their lives and bear their children, cohabitation is filling some of the vacuum. Today about a half of all nonmarital births are to a cohabiting couple; 15 years ago, only about a third were. Cohabiters are ambivalent about marriage – just under half (44%) say they to want marry; a nearly equal portion (41%) say they aren't sure.

  • Divorce Seen as Preferable to an Unhappy Marriage. Americans by lopsided margins endorse the mom-and-dad home as the best setting in which to raise children. But by equally lopsided margins, they believe that if married parents are very unhappy with one another, divorce is the best option, both for them and for their children.

  • Racial Patterns are Complex. Blacks are much less likely than whites to marry and much more likely to have children outside of marriage. However, an equal percentage of both whites and blacks (46% and 44%, respectively) consider it morally wrong to have a child out of wedlock. Hispanics, meantime, place greater importance than either whites or blacks do on children as a key to a successful marriage – even though they have a higher nonmarital birth rate than do whites.

  • Survey Sample and Methods. These findings are from a telephone survey conducted from February 16 through March 14, 2007 among a randomly-selected, nationally representative sample of 2,020 adults.

As Marriage and Parenthood Drift Apart, Public Is Concerned about Social Impact

Click on the link, go look at those graphs. The country is definitely changing.

Like, there's a graph that compares what people believe makes a marriage work in 1990 and 2007. Faithfulness is number one, but it's dropped a few percentage points over the years, and "happy sexual relationship" is second, and has gone up by three percentage points. Most interesting, though, "Sharing household chores" jumped by 15 percent to number three, and "Children" dropped by twenty-four percent, down to a position just above "Agreement on politics."

What this means I couldn't guess. Some of the graphs look at data by the age of the respondent, and you can see that younger people are much more accepting of such things as unmarried cohabitation and unwed pregnancy. It is interesting to see that people think it's better to divorce than to live in an unhappy marriage. I don't know, there's lots of interesting findings in this thing. They look at results by religion and by race, and the effects are quite complicated.

Our world is changing quickly, and we don't know where it's headed. What will life be like in a hundred years, do you think?

35 Comments:

Blogger andrea said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 23, 2007 11:44 AM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Jim writes,

Pew Survey Shows Us a Changing America

Pew Survey:
As Marriage and Parenthood Drift Apart, Public Is Concerned about Social Impact

And then Jim asks, Our world is changing quickly, and we don't know where it's headed. What will life be like in a hundred years, do you think?

What do you do for a living? Whatever it is, it is not likely involved with the social science research being done in this area, because those folks know where things are heading.

What do I think? Do you really want to know? LOL.

July 23, 2007 12:50 PM  
Blogger andrea said...

Orin- I work with researchers in the social sciences and I don't think they know where we will be n 100 years either. Neither do my physicists, astronomers or engineers.

July 23, 2007 1:27 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I asked my grandmother, who was born almost a hundred years ago, what was the most significant invention she'd seen in her lifetime expecting cars, spaceflight, telephone, television, antibiotics, computers). She said it was indoor plumbing. Indeed, where will we be in a hundred years?

July 23, 2007 1:46 PM  
Anonymous sloppy joe said...

check out the Book of Revelation

July 23, 2007 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Proselytizing joe strikes again.

Yawn

July 23, 2007 2:19 PM  
Anonymous sloppy joe said...

"proselytism, defined as any effort to influence people in ways that depersonalizes or deprives them of their inherent value as persons or the use of any coercive techniques or manipulative appeals which bypass a person's critical faculties or play on psychological weakness"

This was the definition of proselytism, devised by Georgetown, which seem to meet general agreement among TTFers last week.

I would agree, and I think any scripturally based Christian, would agree that such practices are improper. Still, as the previous poster quite clearly demonstrates, TTF's problem is not with "proselytism" as defined above but with the very mention of the Christian worldview.

Please explain how my suggesting that one consider the Book of Revelation meets such definition.

July 23, 2007 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not agree with Georgetown's new definition. The Miriam Webster dictionary definition is the one I use: "proselytize - to induce someone to convert to one's faith."

Jehovah Witnesses have come to my door trying to get me to read their literature for decades. They get the same answer you get: "no thanks"

July 23, 2007 5:52 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

andrea writes,

Orin- I work with researchers in the social sciences and I don't think they know where we will be n 100 years either. Neither do my physicists, astronomers or engineers.

Why select 100 years as the time frame? How about 50 years?

The Pew Survey, the one Jim posted this blog entry about, goes back to a benchmark of I believe 1990, since that is what they are comparing the answers in 2007. So, why go out 100 years? Really there is no purpose other than to imply that things change and that it is little more than a force of nature. So, why bother even trying?

Yes, Jim pointed out the obvious...survey shows things are changing...like my 17 year old would say, like Duh!

We don't really need "physicists, astronomers or engineers" to address social phenomena. Trust me on this: if we increase the number of single parents, we will increase the number of children with lives plunged into poverty. So, who do we work on? The ones that are suppose to be responsible for children...adults. Now this will mean a certain amount of "tough love" with these adults, which will no doubt terribly inconvenience them in their desire to follow their bliss, but this is what children need...a family, not a village.

Again, and this is something that only Jim can answer, why state the obvious, i.e. things are changing, instead of the title of the survey, which reads,

As Marriage and Parenthood Drift Apart, Public Is Concerned about Social Impact???

Again, the "Public" is concerned, but if they listen to folks like Jim they will think they is nothing to be done because this is as natural as say a hurricane. Truth is, it isn't.

July 23, 2007 6:50 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Oh, and while I am at it...the Bible is a book full of truth and loads of wisdom, but the Book of Revelations is the least useful, and perhaps the most willfully misused book in the entire Bible (with the misuse being at the hands of those that claim to care so much about "biblical truth").

July 23, 2007 6:53 PM  
Anonymous jojo lived his home said...

"Oh, and while I am at it...the Bible is a book full of truth and loads of wisdom, but the Book of Revelations is the least useful, and perhaps the most willfully misused book in the entire Bible (with the misuse being at the hands of those that claim to care so much about "biblical truth")."

All parts of the Bible have been subject to misuse but what makes you think Revelation misuse is more willful than any other.

July 23, 2007 8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get back, jojo

July 23, 2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous jojo lived his home said...

"I do not agree with Georgetown's new definition. The Miriam Webster dictionary definition is the one I use: "proselytize - to induce someone to convert to one's faith.""

Well, if that's all it means, then there's not only nothing wrong with it, it is something that everyone does naturally.

Again, this is a typical leftist tactic: shifting definitions and shifting connotations.

To you guys, the English language is the Sahara and your opinion is a windstorm.

July 23, 2007 8:59 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Orin,

Humanity has lived for most of its existence in villages with extended families. Your norm of a nuclear family is of recent vintage, and for most of its existence it was an economic institution with women and children as chattel.

Yes, we can certainly improve conditions for couples of all kinds, and I agree that having two functional parents is better than one, but please stop using this to demonize people who are different from you and whom you think need "tough love."

July 23, 2007 9:55 PM  
Anonymous jojo lived his home said...

"Humanity has lived for most of its existence in villages with extended families."

Extended families and villages are entirely different things.

"Your norm of a nuclear family is of recent vintage,"

No, it's not.

"and for most of its existence it was an economic institution with women and children as chattel."

Depends on the culture and, alot, on your spin. Traditional females roles, in Judeo-Christianity anyway, aren't properly characterized thus.

"Yes, we can certainly improve conditions for couples of all kinds, and I agree that having two functional parents is better than one, but please stop using this to demonize people who are different from you and whom you think need "tough love.""

The male-female dynamic is unique and necessary for a healthy society. Unhealthy relationships aren't necessarily demonic just unhealthy.

July 23, 2007 10:36 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Is it Sloppy Jo that said?,

All parts of the Bible have been subject to misuse but what makes you think Revelation misuse is more willful than any other.

The text is highly abstract, using multi-layered symbols which are more prone than not to misinterpretation. Besides, it is for the most part lacking in any sort of practical instruction or wisdom useful for the average reader.

Dana writes,

Orin,

Humanity has lived for most of its existence in villages with extended families. Your norm of a nuclear family is of recent vintage, and for most of its existence it was an economic institution with women and children as chattel.


Well, I was not referring to the history of the village versus the family, rather the vision of those like Hillary Clinton, ever worshipful of the wise ways of those over in Western Europe, versus those like myself, deeply skeptical of just such a model.

Yes, we can certainly improve conditions for couples of all kinds, and I agree that having two functional parents is better than one, but please stop using this to demonize people who are different from you and whom you think need "tough love."

Dana, I am sorry, but I will have to pass on your petition. I have seen firsthand the fallout of children in single-parent households and it is not a pretty sight. It is not just a matter of people who are "different" than me, it is a matter of the well-being of children that just happen to get irresponsible adults as parents. If what it takes is stigmatizing and demonizing those irresponsible parents in order for them to DO THEIR DUTY, then that is what I am prepared to advocate as public policy.

And then there are parents like Tamera Jo Freeman (38 years old), the passenger on a flight from San Francisco to Denver that repeatedly slapped her 4 and 2 year old, and then assaulted a flight attendant (you can search the name for more details...).

What should we do with a Tamera Jo Freeman??? Putting her in prison will not help her children, but perhaps a month in a medieval stockade would be an answer, followed up by a course in how to be a better parent. The goal of all of this is to get parents to take their job seriously so that the children don't take it in the teeth.

July 23, 2007 11:10 PM  
Anonymous jojo lived his home said...

Orin

I agree that parts of revelation can be and have interpretted presumptuously. Still, properly read, the practicality abounds. Most of it comes from the Old Testament.

What do you think of this?:

"CityWatcher.com, a provider of surveillance equipment, attracted little notice itself — until a year ago, when two of its employees had glass-encapsulated microchips with miniature antennas embedded in their forearms.

The “chipping” of two workers with RFIDs — radio frequency identification tags as long as two grains of rice, as thick as a toothpick — was merely a way of restricting access to vaults that held sensitive data and images for police departments, a layer of security beyond key cards and clearance codes, the company said.

Innocuous? Maybe.

But the news that Americans had, for the first time, been injected with electronic identifiers to perform their jobs fired up a debate over the proliferation of ever-more-precise tracking technologies and their ability to erode privacy in the digital age.

High-tech helper or Big Brother?
To some, the microchip was a wondrous invention — a high-tech helper that could increase security at nuclear plants and military bases, help authorities identify wandering Alzheimer’s patients, allow consumers to buy their groceries, literally, with the wave of a chipped hand.

To others, the notion of tagging people was Orwellian, a departure from centuries of history and tradition in which people had the right to go and do as they pleased without being tracked, unless they were harming someone else.

“It was scary that a government contractor that specialized in putting surveillance cameras on city streets was the first to incorporate this technology in the workplace,” says Liz McIntyre, co-author of “Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Move with RFID.”


Darks, the CityWatcher.com executive, said his employees volunteered to be chipped. “You would think that we were going around putting chips in people by force,” he told a reporter, “and that’s not the case at all.”

Yet, within days of the company’s announcement, civil libertarians and Christian conservatives joined to excoriate the microchip’s implantation in people.

“Ultimately,” says Katherine Albrecht, a privacy advocate who specializes in consumer education and RFID technology, “the fear is that the government or your employer might someday say, ’Take a chip or starve.”’

Some critics saw the implants as the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that describes an age of evil in which humans are forced to take the “Mark of the Beast” on their bodies, to buy or sell anything. Others saw it as a big step toward the creation of a Big-Brother society."

July 23, 2007 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what makes you think Revelation misuse is more willful than any other."

Branch Davidians, Peoples Temple, Heaven's Gate. Lots of doomsday cults use the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse of John.

July 23, 2007 11:50 PM  
Anonymous mighty joe young said...

"Branch Davidians, Peoples Temple, Heaven's Gate. Lots of doomsday cults use the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse of John."

When they do that, they only get away with it because they find a group of people who aren't familiar with scripture. Familiarity prevents misuse.

July 24, 2007 7:01 AM  
Anonymous mighty joe young said...

Important story about TTFism run amok in Montgomery County, MD.:

"A group that supports people trying to leave homosexuality is “like the KKK but only in the form of religion,” according to a teacher at Montgomery County, Md.’s Thomas S. Wootton High School.

“STAY OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS AND LEAVE OUR CHILDREN ALONE!” wrote the teacher, who happens to be the co-sponsor of the high school’s Gay Straight Alliance club.

Using a school-issued e-mail account, the teacher sent those messages to PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex-gays and Gays), after the organization distributed fliers to students in compliance with school policy.

So much for “tolerance.”

Which is what the Montgomery County public school district claims it’s promoting by introducing a pro-gay curriculum in all of its middle and high schools this fall.

The new curriculum describes homosexuality as “innate” and exposes kids to propaganda like this statement: “It took a while for me to figure out that I am bisexual. I’ve had great relationships with men and with women,” according to copies of the curriculum posted at www.mcpscurriculum.com.

“They are essentially telling the kids that unless they accept homosexuality, there is something wrong with them,” said Michelle Turner, a mother of six with two in the school district. “These kids have no ability to voice their objection,” she said. “These lessons are so tightly scripted, there is really no discussion that is permitted to take place in the classroom.”

Turner is the spokeswoman for a local parents’ coalition called Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC). The parents received bad news in June when the Maryland State Board of Education denied their appeal, ruling that the district’s controversial lesson plans do not violate the law because “teaching tolerance of diversity is a civic value” with a secular purpose.

The message was clear: Anything taught in the name of “tolerance” trumps parental rights — as well as free speech and religious freedom rights. Other parents need to wake up to this trend, warned Turner. “This ‘tolerance’ is a guise for an agenda that’s being pushed on the school system.

“People need to start asking questions and realize their child is sitting in a classroom for six hours a day,” she added. “And what they are being exposed to in that classroom is impacting their thinking and their beliefs.”

Meanwhile, in Montgomery County, intolerance seems to be the rule: School personnel recently set up trash cans with PFOX’s name on them in the main lobby of one school, apparently attempting to incite students to throw out the group's fliers, which encourage those struggling with same-sex attractions that change is possible.

“The school is not only engaging in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, but clearly it has also displayed an obvious desire to indoctrinate students with a radical, pro-homosexual agenda,” said Alliance Defense Fund Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.

ADF sent a letter this week to the president of Montgomery County’s education board, citing federal court rulings that clearly forbid schools from singling out one group for censorship, while allowing the viewpoints of others."

July 24, 2007 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Thanks for depositing more crap from FOTF's Citizen Link, Anonjoe

http://www.citizenlink.org/CLtopstories/A000005098.cfm

An important blog about the disgruntled intolerant types who want everyone to be as disgruntled and intolerant as they are is here: http://www.teachthefacts.org/2007/07/campfire-songs-of-disgruntled.html

July 24, 2007 8:09 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

Dear mighty joe,
PFOX recently sent out a post from a conservative catholic magazine defending the use of the word "faggot" in discussions of sexual orientation. I have remarkably little sympathy for their (Regina's) complaints about "intolerance." A teacher got angry and sent them an emotional email. So what?

rrjr

July 24, 2007 8:33 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Orin,

I agree that many parents are completely inept when it comes to parenting, and I don't have a solution other than the extended family and, yes, immediate village, stepping in and offering a hand and support along with criticism.

As for western Europe, I think you've fallen into the Bushie trap of simplistic prejudice against all things European. I certainly have no reason to admire the Europeans, who killed 75% of my family not very long ago. However, their health care is far superior to ours, there broadband system puts ours to shame, they have much better intelligence in responding to jihadism, they get good value for their taxes, some of their doctors even make house calls, there air is cleaner, their inner cities less congested . . . and many, many fewer people take the Book of Revelation's dangerous apocalyptic fear-mongering seriously than do our Anons and their American friends.

July 24, 2007 8:51 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Orin- to suggest that a single parent household means the parent was irresponsible is wrong. I have friends who were widowed, who adopted children, who were divorced from bad marriages. There are plenty of two parent families where you can find abuse. You must know that there are many factors that make up good parenting- and having two parents in the house isn't the only one- although the right likes to tout that as being the most important thing.

Joe- go away. we don't need to read the crap by Turner, Griggs, "f"otf- we've heard all their lies before. Turner and Griggs ought to learn more about their own kids before they spout off this nonsense.

July 24, 2007 8:58 AM  
Anonymous trader joe said...

"we don't need to read the crap by Turner, Griggs, "f"otf- we've heard all their lies before."

Without arguing about the content of what their quotes, I think we can fairly say that, at least, they said something. Andrea basically says nothing but everyone else is "crap".

Who can argue with such compelling logic?

"Turner and Griggs ought to learn more about their own kids before they spout off this nonsense."

You've done this before and it's kind of creepy.

July 24, 2007 12:05 PM  
Anonymous trader joe said...

"As for western Europe, I think you've fallen into the Bushie trap of simplistic prejudice against all things European. I certainly have no reason to admire the Europeans, who killed 75% of my family not very long ago. However, their health care is far superior to ours, there broadband system puts ours to shame, they have much better intelligence in responding to jihadism, they get good value for their taxes, some of their doctors even make house calls, there air is cleaner, their inner cities less congested . . ."

Things seem to be looking up in Europe in some ways. Germany and France, like Canada, have elected leaders who will begin the roll back of socialism. Britain seems headed that way too.

"and many, many fewer people take the Book of Revelation's dangerous apocalyptic fear-mongering seriously than do our Anons and their American friends."

Yes, there lack of a spiritual anchor will be their undoing, as it has before.

Isn't it funny for those who project the direst of situations if a prayer is said in school or the government bugs a terrorist's phone, then call the rest of us fear-monger?

Then there are the environmentalist doomsayers. Did it ever occur to anyone that we will run out of fossil fuels long before Florida goes the way of Atlantis? Does anyone know why we haven't had a hurricane hit the Atlantic seaboard in 21 months? Wasn't the global warming apocalyse supposed to cause more frequent and intense hurricanes? That's what the enviro-fear-mongers were saying after Katrina.

What's so bad about vacations in the Gaspe anyway?

July 24, 2007 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Jody said...

What is creepy is a mother of a gay son who rather than loving him unconditionally, joins and then runs an organization dedicated to having him, and others who share his sexual orientation, live loveless lives locked inside a closet.

Another bit of creepiness is a woman with a gay cousin who thinks he was born that way but all other gays choose it.

And then there's creepiness Joe exhibits when he urges people to read a book that foments suicide pacts within apocalyptic cults.

July 24, 2007 12:21 PM  
Anonymous trader joe said...

"live loveless lives"

This is not an accurate assessment of the situation ex-gays find themselves in. Grow up.

"And then there's creepiness Joe exhibits when he urges people to read a book that foments suicide pacts within apocalyptic cults."

People don't join cults as a result of reading Revelation. Some have as a result of letting someone else tell them what Revelation and other scripture say without reading it for themselves.

July 24, 2007 12:58 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Here, Joe, from Reverend Longcrier last night:

Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background. Most Americans agree it was wrong and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation, and denying women the right to vote. So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay American their full and equal rights?

July 24, 2007 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfOrpNoCjos

July 24, 2007 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and for most of its existence it was an economic institution with women and children as chattel."

I am having difficulty reconciling this statement with my grandmothers notebook full of quotes like "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" and other such gems ...

Theresa

July 24, 2007 10:52 PM  
Anonymous GI Joe said...

"Here, Joe, from Reverend Longcrier last night:"

I only watched about five minutes of last night's debate. I've got it TiVoed and will watch it later. What I saw was entertaining.

"Senator Edwards said his opposition to gay marriage is influenced by his Southern Baptist background."

Edwards is a liar. Read Richard Cohen's piece this morning. His "opposition" is based on polling data and is a political strategy- nothing more.

"Most Americans agree it was wrong and unconstitutional to use religion to justify slavery, segregation, and denying women the right to vote."

They may agree that it's wrong but I don't think, to the extent it happened that it was unconstitutional. That's why amendements were pursued.

Also, to the extent it happened, it was due to a misunderstanding of scripture.

July 25, 2007 12:14 AM  
Anonymous GI Joe said...

"So why is it still acceptable to use religion to deny gay American their full and equal rights?"

I assume you're on gay "marriage" again. Even if one calls civil partnerships of some kind, no one has the "right" to governmental endorsement of their personal relationships. Marriage is provided certain preferences because providing these benefits our society as a whole.

As for religion's role in forming citizen's views of right and wrong, it is constitutionally protected. You again make the mistake of believing that removing the religious component in our society is what freedom of religion means.

July 25, 2007 12:37 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

I guess Joe is the only one around here who knows how to read Scripture properly. We should all defer to him.

I have as much right as Joe to the benefit of civil marriage in our civil society. Joe's religious home can provide him whatever spiritual benefits it so chooses, as can mine.

Joe is right that slavery and segregation were not unconstitutional. America's greatest shame.

July 25, 2007 8:24 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Theresa,

You should be ashamed. Of course women exerted whatever power they could to survive in such an oppressive legal and economic system. I'm sure your grandmother did her best, as did mine. That does not change the economic and social reality. The same can be said of any social group that struggles to maintain its dignity in an oppressive system.

July 25, 2007 8:27 AM  

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