The number of married couples has dropped, too: In 1960, 72 per cent of American adults were married. In 2008, that number was 52 per cent.
Nonetheless, 69 per cent of people say that single women having children is bad for society, and 61 per cent say kids need both a mom and a dad to grow up happily.
The decline of marriage is class-based, the study found. In 1960, people with a college degree were only 4 percentage points more likely to be married than people with a high school education or less. By 2008, that gap widened to 16 percentage points. Just under half (48 per cent) of people without college degrees were married in 2008, compared to 64 per cent of college grads.
The difference was that 38 per cent of people with less education said financial stability was an important condition for marriage, compared with 21 per cent of college-educated people.
However, 67 per cent saying they’re upbeat about the future of marriage and family. Americans take it seriously. More than three-quarters say family is the most important element of their life.
Eighty-eight percent of people view a childless married couple as a family. Nearly as many (80 per cent), say a cohabitating couple with a child is a family, and 86 per cent say a single parent and a child is a family.
Just over 65 per cent say a gay or lesbian couple raising a child is a family.