Americans More Accepting of Social Change

Americans' approval of divorce declined over the decade.

Americans’ approval of divorce declined in the last decade.

The Results of a new survey shows that Americans are becoming more accepting of various moral behaviors than they were a decade ago. One startling difference is divorce: its acceptability has declined.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted in-person interviews of 10,000 teens and young adults (ages 15 to 44) who were queried about their thoughts on changes in U.S. family relations. The survey occurred 2011- 2013.

The survey showed that 38% of women agreed with divorce when marriage is on the rocks compared to 47% ten years earlier. Acceptance of divorce by men also declined; a decade ago 44% approved compared to 39% in this survey. One possible explanation for this result is that first marriages are occurring later in life and those who do marry are more likely to want to maintain that marital status. Another possible explanation is that the survey was conducted at a time when the economy was of such that some couples could not afford to divorce and set up separate households.

Some findings reflect an increase from ten years ago: 75% of both men and women agree that living together before marriage is acceptable; 78% of women and 69% of men approve of single women having and raising a baby; same sex relations received approval   of 60% of women and 49% of men; premarital sex among 18-year-olds was approved of by 54% of women and 64% of men. Two results that haven’t changed over the decade are: 1) sex among 16-year-olds was acceptable to only 15% of women and 21% of men; and 2) less than 10% of both men and women think it’s not necessary to have children to be happy in life.

With the exception of divorce, Americans seem to be shifting in a more liberal direction as it pertains to key issues involving marriage and intimate relationships.


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