WASHINGTON-The 2018 American Family Survey released Friday shows that Americans once again had generally favorable views of their own marriage, but are concerned with the state of marriage overall. And four out of 10 Americans were stressed about their finances last year.
Doug Wilkes, editor of the Deseret News, the Utah newspaper that sponsors the survey, said that the findings on marriage were consistent with attitudes dating back to the first study in 2015.
“People consistently say that their own marriage is a happy marriage, but everyone else is in trouble,” Wilkes said.
The online survery of 3,000 people weighted to mirror the general U.S. population was conducted in July by YouGov.
A group of experts weighing the results at the Brookings Institution cautioned against an overly optimistic reading of the survey results, noting that many of those surveyed listed economic distress as a major source of anxiety.
Fourty-four percent of respondents felt some economic stress over the past year, and the feeling was especially strong among families raising children.
University of Wisconsin sociology professor Marcia Carlson noted that that three-quarters of respondents with children said they worried about how they were going to pay a bill in the last year.
When asked what the key to a fulfilling life was, the answer was the same regardless of race or ethnicity — “making a good living.” Seventy-nine percent of black respondents chose the answer, as did 77 percent of Hispanics and 76 percent of white respondents.
Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, argued that the survey suggests partisan differences related to views on marriage. According to the survey, Republicans are 17 percent more likely than Democrats to be married.
But Carlson warned against taking that number at face value.
“I think partisan identity itself is shifting in America,” Carlson said. “Income difference is more striking. I’m not sure partisan difference is driving this.”