Families Drawn Together By Communication Revolution: As Family Forms Change, Bonds Remain Strong

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

02/21/2006 - Today is nothing special - just a typical day. So, will you be getting in touch with mom or dad? For a growing numbers of adult Americans, the answer is yes. More than four in ten (42 percent) either see or talk to a parent (usually, it's mom) every day, according to a Pew Research Center survey that looks at the nature of family ties and the frequency of family contact. In 1989, a Gallup survey found that just 32 percent of adults maintained such daily communication with a parent. This increase in regular daily contact is one of many findings in the survey that highlight the strength and resilience of family bonds in the face of sweeping changes over the past several decades in family structures and living arrangements. The survey finds that in an era of declining cost and growing ease of phone communication:

  • Family members are staying in ever more frequent touch. Some 73 percent report that on an average day they speak with a family member who doesn't live in their house.
  • Family remains the greatest source of satisfaction in people's lives. Fully 72 percent say they are "very satisfied" with their family life, compared with 32 percent who say they are very satisfied with their household income, 42 percent with their standard of living and 63 percent with their housing situation.
  • Most parents and adult children live within an hour's drive of one another. Sixty-five percent of respondents in the Pew survey who have a living parent say they live within an hour's drive of that parent.
  • When people have personal problems, family is the first place they turn for advice. Asked whom they turn to (other than a spouse) when they have a serious personal problem, 45 percent of respondents named a family member. Some 22 percent named a friend, neighbor or co-worker.
The Pew telephone survey of a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of 3,014 adults was conducted from Oct. 5 through Nov. 6, 2005.

PDF Report:Families Drawn Together By Communication Revolution: As Family Forms Change, Bonds Remain Strong

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