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For many, family transcends politics. People form relationships across the aisle because their kids are in the same soccer league or they meet parents with similar concerns in their local communities. Some families fight about politics at Thanksgiving but hug each other before leaving the dinner table.

However, just because family connections often transcend political divides, that does not mean that family issues are immune to the effects of policy decisions. In fact, debates pertaining to family matters can be some of the most contentious in politics because they are so personal. There have been debates about how much parental leave should be standard and whether the United States’ policy decisions are pro-family.

Despite these disputes, there is still a lot of common ground on family and childcare policy. Here are a few examples of data and stories to support that:

  • Similar numbers of Republicans (52%) and Democrats (49%) say they derive meaning from their lives through family and children, according to 2021 data from Pew Research Center (Center Bias).
  • 81% of Democrats and 84% of Republicans have family dinner at least weekly, according to 2019 data from the American Family Survey.
  • Democrats (85%) and Republicans (92%) both believe the divorce rate is going up when in reality it is decreasing (the CDC reports divorces were 3.6 per 1000 people in 2007, it was 2.9 by 2017), the American Family Survey shows. 
  • Children who grew up in a household with a clear party identification are more likely to plan on voting than those who grew up in homes without a clear political affiliation: 47.5% for Democrat families, 39.6% for GOP families, and 24.1% for families with no affiliation, according to 2018 data from The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University
  • 54% of Republicans and 67% of Democrats believe that employers should pay for maternity leave, and 66% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans believe that the cost of caring for a child, adult family, friend, or neighbor, should fall on themselves and their family rather than an employer or the government, states the American Family Survey
  • The First Five Years Fund reports that 78% of Republicans and 93% of Democrats support making child care more affordable through providing financial support to help families pay some of the cost of necessary care, such as providing parents with a tax credit. 
  • 73% of Republicans and 95% of Democrats support making preschool widely available by providing it free of charge to all three- and four-year-olds whose parents want to send them, from First Five Year Fund’s 2021 data.

 

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See more examples of common ground on issues where you might not expect to find it:

 

Clare Ashcraft is the Bridging Intern at AllSides. She has a Center bias.


This piece was reviewed by news assistant Ethan Horowtiz (Lean Right bias) and Andrew Weinzierl, Director of Research & Data Journalism (Lean Left).