Americans Favor Double Incomes But Feel Pressures On Family Time

July 5, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Financial Services | Hispanic | Household Income | Men | Staffing | Uncategorized | Women | Youth & Gen X

bursonmarsteller-attitudes-double-income-households-july2012.pngTwo-thirds of Americans believe it is better for both members of a household to work in paying jobs, with non-parents more likely than the average (72% vs. 67%) to be of this opinion, according to a July 2012 report from Penn Schoen Berland in partnership with Burston-Marsteller. Parents are more apt than non-parents to believe in a one-working-parent household (39% vs. 25%).

The majority sentiment for double-income households is at odds with other findings from the report: 45% of Americans believe that children can only grow up to be successful if they spend a majority of their developmental years being cared for by a parent, versus 51% who believe the child can be successful and 4% who are undecided. So, while 72% believe in the double-income family, they presumably feel that the second job must not interfere with child rearing.

2 in 5 Parents Want More Time With Children

Among parents, 39% feel that they are unable to spend as much time with their children as they want to, a figure that peaks among lower-income families (<$35,000) at 64%, versus just 54% among parents making $75,000+. Men and women are strongly divided on time with their children. Fully 69% of mothers feel they spend as much time with their children as they want to, versus less than half of fathers.

Black parents, at 63%, are the most satisfied with their time with their children, and Hispanic parents the least satisfied at 57%. White parents fall in the middle, at 60%.

According to Kantar Media survey results from June, middle-class consumers in major emerging markets are far more likely than those in the US to be willing to sacrifice their family time for the purpose of career ambition.

Parents Focused Upon Ensuring Children’s Success

For all the talk of over-indulgent parents, most do not see themselves that way, per the Burson-Marsteller “American Values Survey.” 76% of parents value “preparing my child for success in the future” over “making sure my child is happy now” at 22% (with 2% undecided).

Parents aged 30-44 are most focused upon future happiness, with 79% choosing this option. By contrast, parents aged 65+ (parents of working-age children) are the most indulgent, with 65% focused upon their children’s immediate happiness.

Americans Expect Schools To Prepare And Educate Children

While 76% favor preparing their children for success in the future, they strongly expect schools to help. When asked what they believe the primary goals of public schools must be, 27% of parents overall see it as instilling students with the values of dedication and hard work, and 26% as preparing students for successful careers. Both of these were more commonly cited than instilling students with the most academic knowledge (18%).

About The Data: Penn Schoen Berland conducted 2,006 interviews with the adult general population of the United States. 1,006 interviews were conducted by telephone and 1,000 conducted online. Male/female ratio was 963/1,043. Age groups represented including 18-29; 30-44; 45-64; 65+. Four quadrants of the US represented were northeast, Midwest, south, west. Data are reflective of US Census Bureau demographic statistics in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and region.

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