New Collection and Exclusive Survey on State of the American Family

Feb 10, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — A new survey released today finds that the American family faces extraordinary pressures, with only 25% of Americans reporting that they or their families are “living the American Dream” and about half saying they have fewer children than they would ideally want. Building on these findings, a series of essays from conservative scholars explore how we should approach family policy, arguing for a normative vision of the family as a vital social institution and considering how government can and should support families.

The American Compass Home Building Survey of 2,000 Americans aged 18– 50, conducted in late January by YouGov, finds:

  • Overall, 25% of Americans report that they or their families are “living the American Dream,” as compared to 55% who say they are “getting by, but do not have the life [they] want” and 20% who say they are “struggling and worried for the future.”
  • Americans of all classes are failing to have as many children as they say they want. Lower, working, and middle-class households tend to cite affordability as the reason, while upper-class households are more likely to cite lifestyle or career.
  • Across all classes and regardless of parental status, 60 to 75% of Americans say that the government should do more to support families.

In Home Building’s initial set of essays, Helen Andrews (The American Conservative) begins by making the conservative case for supporting the family at all, and Kay Hymowitz (Manhattan Institute) describes what happened to marriage when we did not. Tomorrow, American Compass will release essays building on that case: Patrick Brown (former Joint Economic Committee policy advisor) explains the advantages of marriage and the two-parent household for childrearing, and Lyman Stone (Institute for Family Studies and American Enterprise Institute) shows that helping families have more children is not only in our national interest, but in families’ personal interests as well.

In the coming weeks, American Compass will publish additional survey results, research, and commentary on family policy questions, including the “child allowance” and other, less traditional approaches to supporting families.

Click here to read the full collection.

Abigail Salvatore