Worries, Outlook In US Parenting Linked To Family Income


The worries, fears and concerns of US parents are highly linked to their family's financial status, a new study found. Household income plays a vital role in how rich and poor American families see their children's lives over the past decades.

Modern parenthood issues revolved around philosophies such as the use of helicopter parenting versus the free-range approach or setting high expectations from a child versus fostering an environment where all are winners.

Although these issues are important, some parents tend to overlook the basic aspects of parenthood. In a new survey conducted by Pew Research Center, it was found that parenting issues are now more linked to economic status rather than philosophies and values.

The study was performed from Sep. 15 to Oct. 13, 2015 and it involved a total of 1,807 American parents with children aged 18 years old and below.


Parents from low-income families think that their children have limited access to a safe environment, compared to kids belonging to high-income families. One-third of low-income parents, who earn less than $30,000 a year said that their neighborhood is a "fair" or "poor" place to raise kids. Only 7 percent of parents with high income think that their community is a poor place to stay.


Violence against kids is also a concern raised by parents from low-income families. Those who earn less than $30,000 said kidnapping and getting beaten up are major concerns, with rates of 59 percent and 55 percent respectively. The said numbers are at least 15 percent higher than those of high-income parents.

Teenage pregnancy

Teenage pregnancy is a concern more haunting for low-income familes than high-income ones. In fact, 50 percent of low-income parents said they worry about their daughter getting pregnant during the teenage years. High-income parents with the same worry only had a rate of 43 percent.


Parents, specifically in the low-income bracket, are also concerned about the lack of available after school activities their kids can engaged in. About 59 percent of parents earning $30,000 said their kids have joined a sports-related activity in the last 12 months. Such number is lower than the 84 percent rate among high-income parents earning $75,000.

Approximately 52 percent of low-income families said that extracurricular activities are not available in their community, compared to the 29 percent of high-income families.

Common ground

"There are some worries, though, that are shared across income groups," the report read.

At the minimum, 50 percent of parents, regardless of income brackets, worry about their kids being bullied or depressed at some point.

"The report shows that income is strongly linked, from the worries they have about their children's safety, to the way they assess their neighborhoods as a place to raise kids, to the extracurricular activities their children participate in," said Juliana Horowitz, associate director of research at Pew Research Center.

Photo: Joris Louwes | Flickr

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