Gallup: 40% of Americans Say 'Not Too/Not at All Important' for Couple With Child to Marry

By Michael W. Chapman | December 30, 2020 | 11:23am EST
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- According to Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, 40% of American adults believe that it is "not too important" or "not at all important" for a couple that has a child together to get married. 

However, 29% of adults think is "very important" for the couple to marry and another 31% believe it is "somewhat important." Thus, 60% of American adults think it is important, to one degree or another, for a couple with a child to legally marry.

In the survey, Gallup asked, "When a couple has a child together, how important is it to you that they legally marry -- very important, somewhat important, not too important or not too important at all?" (See graph below for responses.) 


"Fewer U.S. adults now than in past years believe it is 'very important' for couples who have children together to be married," reported Gallup.  "Currently, 29% say it is very important that such a couple legally marry, down from 38% who held this view in 2013 and 49% in 2006."

"Another 31% of U.S. adults currently say it is 'somewhat important' for couples with children to be married, bringing the total to 60% who consider it important to some degree," said the survey firm.  "Meanwhile, four in 10 say it is not too (18%) or not at all (22%) important."

These downward trends are consistent with related views on marriage, said Gallup.

For instance, "Sixty-six percent now believe it is morally acceptable to have a baby outside of marriage, an increase from 53% the first year the question was asked in 2001," said Gallup.  "Seventy-two percent, up from 53% in 2001, consider sex between an unmarried man and woman morally acceptable."

Gallup also noted that Americans who attend church weekly or describe themselves as "conservative" were more likely to believe couples with children should be married. 

"Frequent church attendees (45%), political conservatives (41%) and Americans aged 55 and older (38%) are among the groups most likely to believe marriage is crucial for parents," reported the survey firm.  

"Democrats (18%), those who seldom or never attend church (19%), political liberals (21%) and moderates (22%), and adults under age 55 (23%) are among the groups least likely to regard marriage as being very important for such couples," said Gallup. 

In another survey question, Gallup asked, "When a couple plans to spend the rest of their lives together, how important is it to you that they legally marry -- very important, somewhat important, not too important or not important at all?"


In response, 38% said it is "very important" and 26% said it is "somewhat important." Thus, some 64% think it is important, to one degree or another.

Only 36% said it was "not too/not at all important" for a couple to marry, if they plan to spend their lives together. 

"Religiosity and political ideology are the strongest predictors of the importance people attach to couples marrying when they want to spend their lives together," said Gallup, noting the following, 

  • "Sixty-seven percent of weekly church attendees regard marriage as very important for couples who want to spend their lives together, compared with 22% of those who rarely or never attend church.

  • "Fifty-five percent of conservatives versus 23% of liberals believe it is very important that such couples wed."

"There are also significant differences by age, partisanship, race and education," reported the polling firm.  "Older Americans, Republicans, non-White adults and college non-graduates place more importance on marriage for couples who want to live together than do younger Americans, Democrats, White adults and college graduates."

(Gallup survey methods: "Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 1-13, 2020, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.")

MRC Store