In Depth: Topics A to Z

Children

1936-2011 Trend: What do you think is the ideal number of children for a family to have?

Trend: When Your Oldest Child Is at School, Do You Fear for His or Her Physical Safety?

Trend: When Your Oldest Child Is at School, Do You Fear for His or Her Physical Safety?

Trend: Have any of your school-aged children expressed worry about feeling unsafe at their school when they go back this fall?

Trend: How many nights a week out of seven does your family eat dinner together at home?

Trend: What do you think is the ideal number of children for a family to have?

Trend: How many children do you have?

Trend: How many children do you have? Do you want to have children someday? How many children would you have if you had it to do over again?

What do you think are the main reasons why couples do not have more children?

In your view, what is the ideal age for a woman to have her first child?

In your view, what is the ideal age for a man to have his first child?

How old were you when you had your first child?

How closely have you been following news about shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut last week that killed 26 people -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all?

Trend: In your opinion, how likely is it that these kinds of shootings could happen in your community, is it -- very likely, somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely?

Do you think the school your oldest child attends is or is not doing enough to prevent a similar shooting?

Suppose you could only have one child. Would you prefer that it be a boy or a girl?

Boy

Girl

Either/ Doesn't
matter (vol.)

Not sure

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2011 Jun 9-12

40

28

26

3

3

2007 Jun 11-14

37

28

26

5

4

2003 Jul 18-20

38

28

27

5

2

2000 Dec 2-4

42

27

25

4

2

1997 May 6-7

36

23

38

2

1

1997 Feb 24-26 ^

41

29

25

--

5

1996 Feb 23-25 ^

41

31

25

--

3

1990 Apr 19-22 †

38

34

24

--

4

1947 Sep 12-17 †

40

25

27

--

8

1941 Mar 21-26 ‡

38

24

23

--

15

(vol.) = Volunteered response

^ If you were to have a child right now, would you rather have a boy or a girl?

† If you had another child would you rather have a boy or a girl?

‡ If you could have only one (one more) child, which would you prefer to have -- a boy, or a girl?


Do you think the government should be able to prevent the sales or rentals of violent video games to children under 18, or not?

Yes, should be
able to prevent

No, should not

No opinion

2010 Oct 29-30

68%

31

2

How much responsibility should each of the following have for determining whether or not children under 18 are able to buy or rent violent video games -- a great deal, a fair amount, not much or none at all? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

Parents

Great
deal

Fair
amount

Not
much

None

No
opinion

2010 Oct 29-30

86%

8

2

4

1

Video game manufacturers

Great
deal

Fair
amount

Not
much

None

No
opinion

2010 Oct 29-30

43%

22

12

19

3

The government

Great
deal

Fair
amount

Not
much

None

No
opinion

2010 Oct 29-30

28%

28

16

26

2

Retail or online stores that sell or rent games

Great
deal

Fair
amount

Not
much

None

No
opinion

2010 Oct 29-30

43%

30

11

14

3

Suppose an unmarried couple lives together with children in the household. Do you think that has a -- [ROTATED: positive effect on the children, does it not make a difference, (or does it have a) negative effect on the children]?

Positive
effect

No
difference

Negative
effect

No
opinion

2008 Jul 25-27

12%

47

38

3

Thinking about the number of overweight children there are in the United States today, would you say this is an extremely serious problem, a very serious problem, a moderately serious problem, or not a serious problem?

Extremely
serious

Very
serious

Moderately
serious

Not
serious

No
opinion

2006 Feb 9-12

26%

41

29

3

1


Suppose scientific discoveries make it possible for parents to select genetic traits such as intelligence, height, or artistic talent when planning to have a child. Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: parents should be allowed to select the traits they wish their child to have (or) parents should not be allowed to select the traits for their child and the child should be born with whatever traits it would naturally have]?

Should be allowed
to select traits

Should not be allowed
to select traits

No
opinion

2003 Jan 23-25 ^

8%

88

4

^ Asked of a half sample

Scientific discoveries may someday make it possible for parents to select genetic traits such as intelligence, height, or artistic talent when planning to have a child. If you were having a child, and this were possible, would you -- [ROTATED: select the traits you wanted your child to have, (or) let the child be born with whatever traits he or she would naturally have]?

Select
traits

Be born with
whatever traits
naturally have

No
opinion

2003 Jan 23-25 ^

7%

91

2

^ Asked of a half sample

Thinking about the amount of homework your oldest child receives, overall, would you say that child receives -- [ROTATED: too much homework, the right amount, or not enough homework]?

BASED ON K-12 PARENTS

Too
much

Right
amount

Not
enough

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

16%

57

23

4

Now thinking for a moment about social pressures at the school your oldest child attends. How serious a problem are social pressures among students to -- [RANDOM ORDER] -- very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not serious at all?

BASED ON K-12 PARENTS

Drink alcohol

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not too
serious

Not serious
at all

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

22%

24

22

30

2

Wear a specific type or brand of clothes

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not too
serious

Not serious
at all

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

24%

27

23

22

4

Use drugs

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not too
serious

Not serious
at all

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

22%

26

23

27

2

Achieve a specific body image

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not too
serious

Not serious
at all

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

25%

29

25

20

1

Be popular

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not too
serious

Not serious
at all

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

26%

39

22

11

2

Have sexual relations

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not too
serious

Not serious
at all

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

19%

28

20

28

5

Smoke cigarettes

Very
serious

Somewhat
serious

Not too
serious

Not serious
at all

No
opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

16%

25

25

33

1

In your oldest child's school, would you say students pressure each other more -- [ROTATED: to perform well academically (or) not to perform well academically]?

BASED ON K-12 PARENTS

To perform well

Not to perform well

No opinion

2001 Aug 16-19

69%

21

10

About how many hours per week would you say you, personally, spend driving your children to organized activities? [OPEN-ENDED]

BASED ON ADULTS WITH CHILDREN UNDER 18

2001 Aug 3-5

%

None

29

One hour

10

Two hours

13

Three hours

9

Four hours

9

Five hours

6

Six hours

3

Seven to 10 hours

12

Eleven to 15 hours

5

More than 15 hours

3

No opinion

1

Mean

4.3

Median

2

Considering the needs of both parents and children, which of the following do you see as the ideal situation for a family in today's society -- [ROTATED: both parents work full-time outside the home, one parent works full-time outside the home, the other works part-time, one parent works full-time outside the home, the other works at home, (or) one parent stays at home solely to raise the children]?

Both parents
work full-time

One parent
full-time,
one parent
part-time

One parent
full-time,
one parent
works at home

One parents
stays at home to
raise children

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

2001 Apr 20-22

13

24

17

41

5

1991 Jul 25-28

14

27

15

39

5

1989 Oct 1-4

7

42

15

33

3

Which parent do you think should work full-time outside the home -- the husband, the wife, or doesn't it make any difference?

BASED ON ADULTS WHO THINK ONE PARENT SHOULD WORK PART-TIME OR AT HOME

Husband

Wife

Doesn't make
any difference

No
opinion

2001 Apr 20-22

30%

1

69

0

1991 Jul 25-28

44%

1

55

--

Which parent do you think should stay home solely to raise the children -- the husband, the wife, or doesn't it make any difference?

BASED ON ADULTS WHO THINK ONE PARENT SHOULD STAY AT HOME

Husband

Wife

Doesn't make
any difference

No
opinion

2001 Apr 20-22

1%

43

55

1

1991 Jul 25-28

3%

63

34

*

* Less than 0.5%

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing that could be done to prevent another incidence of school shootings by students, like the recent ones in California?

2001 Mar 26-28

1999 May 7-9 ^

Parent involvement/responsibility

31

32

More security at schools

14

16

Better gun control/laws/issues

11

12

Better education/students/parents

6

3

Control media violence/video games/Internet

5

4

Lift laws on disciplining children

4

6

Put prayer back in school/home

3

3

Raise morals/people's standards

3

3

Better communication between students/parents/teachers

3

4

Monitor/Watch students more closely

3

--

Stop bullies/bullying

2

--

More counselors/counseling/teachers

2

6

Stricter punishment on children/laws

2

2

Report threats/Take threats more seriously

1

--

Dress codes/uniforms

*

1

None

1

1

Other

2

4

No opinion

7

3

* Less than 0.5%

^ WORDING: Next we have some questions about the shooting at the Littleton, Colorado high school where 2 students killed 12 of their classmates and one teacher. In your opinion, what is the single most important thing that could be done to prevent another incidence of school shootings by students, like the one in Littleton?

How important do you think each of the following is as a cause of the school shootings that have been occurring -- extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?

A. The home life students have today, including their relationship with their parents

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

57%

35

4

2

1

1

B. Bullying and teasing of students at school

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

29%

33

23

8

5

2

C. The portrayal of violence and use of guns in today's entertainment and music

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

38%

30

17

7

6

2

D. The coverage given to school shootings by the news media

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

32%

32

23

7

3

3

E. The availability and ease of obtaining guns by students

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

46%

31

10

6

5

2

F. The way schools discipline their students

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

31%

36

17

8

3

5

G. The size of high schools today in terms of the number of students who attend

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

20%

29

26

15

6

4

H. The fact that families move around and the students don't have roots in one specific town

Extremely
important

Very
important

Somewhat
important

Not too
important

Not at all
important

No
opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

17%

26

28

18

9

2

Overall, do you feel the news media have acted responsibly or irresponsibly in covering the recent school shootings?

Responsibly

Irresponsibly

No opinion

2001 Mar 26-28

57%

37

6

1999 Apr 26-27 ^

67%

29

4

^ WORDING: Overall, do you feel the news media have acted responsibly or irresponsibly in this situation? (Columbine/Littleton shooting)

Using a scale of 1-10, where 1 is very easy, and 10 is very difficult, how easy or difficult would you say it is to raise children to be good people these days?

1998 Jul 7-8

%

01 Very easy

2

02

2

03

3

04

2

05

11

06

7

07

14

08

23

09

7

10 Very difficult

28

No opinion

1

Mean

7.5

Compared to twenty years ago, do you think it is harder or not harder to raise kids to be good people today?

Harder

Not harder

No opinion

1998 Jul 7-8

89%

10

1

Compared to parents twenty years ago, do you think parents today are doing a better job of raising their children, a worse job or are they doing about the same?

Better

Worse

Same

No opinion

1998 Jul 7-8

4%

67

28

1

Which of the following statements comes closer to the way you feel about raising children today -- [ROTATED: even though there are a lot of bad influences these days, parents who do a good job can usually be assured that their children will turn out well (or) there are so many bad influences out there that even for parents who do a good job, there is a good chance their children will get into serious trouble]?

Children will
turn out well

Good chance
children get
into trouble

Neither/Other (vol.)/
No opinion

1998 Jul 7-8

44

51

5

(vol.) = Volunteered response

Thinking about children's exposure to popular culture, including things like television, movies, the internet, and popular music -- do you think it is possible or nearly impossible for a parent to shield their child from exposure to popular culture?

Possible

Nearly impossible

No opinion

1998 Jul 7-8

26%

73

1

If money were no object, how many children per family would you consider to be the ideal number?

0

1

2

3

4

5+

No opinion

Mean

Summary

0-2

3+

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

1997 ^

1

1

43

23

19

8

6

3.0

45

50

^ Asked of a half sample

Which do you, yourself, think is easier to raise -- a boy or a girl?

Boy

Girl

No difference (vol.)

No opinion

1997 Feb 24-26

49%

30

14

7

Do you approve or disapprove of spanking children?

Approve

Disapprove

No opinion

%

%

%

National adults

1997 Feb 24-26

65

32

3

1990

65

25

10

Parents of children under 18

1997 Feb 24-26

66

31

3

1946

74

24

2

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