Study: Support For Traditional Family is Global

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

Washington ( - A new study from the World Congress of Families, meeting this month in Geneva, finds that across the globe people are concerned about the state of the family and support a traditional understanding of it.

The study, conducted by Wirthlin Worldwide polling, found remarkable consistency across the globe in attitudes toward family life.

For example, 84 percent of people polled agreed that marriage is defined as "one man and one woman," and 78 percent agreed that families were the "fundamental unit of society."

"These findings clearly and emphatically reveal that, despite efforts to undermine the natural family in the United Nations . . . the people of the world [agree] . . . that the natural family is the fundamental social unit," said Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and general secretary of the World Congress of Families.

The study did find some variation within certain regions. For example, 86 percent of non-U.S. adults around the world agreed that "all things being equal, it is better for children to be raised in a household that has a married mother and father." In Asia, support for that statement was 92 percent, but in Europe in dropped to 66 percent.

However, Mary Ellen Jensen of Wirthlin Worldwide, who directed the polling, said that despite variations in the responses, overall there is a remarkable worldwide consistency in attitudes toward the family.

"We're told by international bodies that there is no way to come to common conclusions about what's good for the family, because our views are mediated by different cultures, religions, and economic statuses," Jensen told "What we found in this study contradicts those assertions."

Dr. Richard Wilkins, director of the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Family Voice, told that he hoped that international bodies would use the study to "rectify" what he calls "anti-family policies."

"Once international policymakers begin to understand the wide global agreement on these issues, they can begin fashioning policies that strengthen families," including new policies on taxation, education, and health care, said Wilkins.

The survey was conducted in advance of the second World Congress of Families to be held in Geneva from November 14-17. The World Congress is an international group of family activists, parents, and scholars that meets yearly to discuss ways to counter what they call anti-family initiatives advanced at the UN and other world bodies.

The survey was conducted in September and October of this year; more than 2,900 people worldwide were contacted.