Family Story Releases New National Survey on Unmarried WomenOver Half Of Unmarried Women Without Children Not Interested In Marriage; Majority Think Two Married Parents Not Necessary For Kids, But More Adults Invested And Helping Is Best
Findings from a nationally-representative online survey upend traditional assumptions about women’s attitudes toward marriage, partnership, parenting, and family, and show an evolving family landscape where roles are being redrawn and reconsidered. Family Story, a nonprofit that does research, communications and storytelling about today’s families, teamed up with Lake Research Partners to survey a total of 1,058 unmarried and married women, with and without children.*
Among key findings from the survey:
- More than half (52%) of unmarried women with no children under 18 say they either don’t want to be married, don’t think they want to be married, or would like a partner but don’t feel the need to be legally married.
- More than half of women think there should be more ways to raise children with someone who is not a romantic partner. A solid majority (58%) of unmarried mothers say they would consider raising a child with someone who is not a spouse or a romantic partner.
- Over 60% of women surveyed agreed that children do best with multiple adults invested and helping, but that two married parents are not necessary.
- Over 70% of women believe that a single parent can do just as good a job as two parents.
“The family is always evolving, and what we’re seeing in this survey, in part, reflects women’s liberation from one narrow path. That’s a good thing,” said Nicole Rodgers, Family Story founder and co-director. “Most women understand that family can take many forms, and that a good family is simply a group of people bonded together by love, care and support for each other,” she says.
While few family ‘types’ today are entirely new, there is a much greater diversity of family arrangements across households than in the past, and no typical American family. Today, half of Americans over 18 are not married. That’s why Rodgers believes social and economic policies that make assumptions about what our families look like—or should look like—do a disservice to us all. Says Rodgers: “Our survey shows that women are pretty open minded about building lives, and raising families, in all sorts of ways.”
Christina LeBeau is one of these women. Christina is raising her two children in a small town in Pennsylvania with Terri Fyock, who is a friend, but not a romantic partner. “Why not be open to the idea that you could move in with a friend, make a family with a friend, and just be there to support each other in the ways you need? Why limit yourself?” asks LeBeau. Rodgers agrees: “The majority of women we surveyed agreed that when it comes to raising children, while two married parents aren’t necessary, more adults around is really helpful. That’s why what Christina and Terri are doing makes so much sense. I think we’ll all be better off when society recognizes the many valuable ways women form families.”
More findings from the survey are available upon request. We can also help identify women to speak to journalists about attitudes and experiences reflected in survey findings.
*Methodology: Lake Research Partners designed and administered this nationwide online survey from April 6 – 18, 2017. The sample was drawn from an online panel and respondents were screened to be at least 18 years old.
The survey reached a total of 379 unmarried mothers of children under 18 with oversamples of 25 African American women and 25 Latina women. The unmarried mothers of children under 18 data were weighed slightly by region, age, race, and education to reflect attributes of the actual population. The margin of error for the total unmarried mothers of children under 18 sample is +/- 5.2 percent.
The survey reached a total of 426 unmarried women who have no children under the age of 18, with oversamples of 55 African American women and 60 Latina women. The unmarried women who have no children under 18 data were weighed slightly by region, age, race, and education to reflect attributes of the actual population. The margin of error for the total unmarried women who have no children under 18 sample is +/- 4.9 percent.
The survey reached a total of 253 Married Women with a mix of parental status. The married women data were weighed slightly by Parental status, Party ID, and education to reflect attributes of the actual population. The margin of error for the total married women sample is +/- 6.2 percent.