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Election 2012: Candidates Need to Act like Presidents, Think like Fathers

91% of Parents Believe That The United States Lacks Jobs That Pay Enough Money To Support A Family

SEPTMEBER 26, 2012 – As the presidential candidates prepare for their first debate on domestic policy, parents across the country are voicing fears that moms and dads can’t support their families in today’s economy – and expect that government help provide some answers.

Ninety-one percent of American parents said that the lack of jobs that pay enough to support a family is a serious problem, according to a recent survey, "Casting a Vote For The Next Generation: A Survey of Parents On Their Priorities and Concerns for Their Children" from Parents magazine and The Center for The Next Generation that asked parents from across the country about how modern parenthood has been impacted by the recession. Roughly one in five parents also said that the recession contributed to their decision not to have another child. 

The survey of more than 2,100 moms and dads shows that many facets of modern family life, including education, health care, and after school activities have been touched by the Great Recession.  Facing fears about their children’s lack of opportunities for successful futures, parents are turning to President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney for insights on how they plan to tackle the issues that are causing so much of the anxiety that goes hand in hand with post-recession parenthood.

“These findings are disturbing because more than ever we need to invest in our next generation – and that includes creating opportunities for parents to have both the income to support their families and the time to spend with their children,” said Matt James, president of The Center for the Next Generation. “If our future workforce is going to be competitive, we need to make investments in children today. That is why issues of the family must be front and center during this election cycle: we need to know what President Obama and Governor Romney intend to do to ensure that our children can look forward to a better future.”



  • 91% of parents believe that the lack of jobs that pay enough to support a family is a serious problem facing America’s children.
  • More than 1 out of 4 parents (28%) say they or their partner has had to work longer hours as a result of the economic downturn.


  • When asked to choose between an extra $10,000 per year or an extra hour every day of quality time with their children, two-thirds choose the money;
  • While the majority of parents (55%) think life will be better for their children than it has been for them; a quarter (26%) feel it will be worse.
  • 1 in 5 parents of children under 12 said they decided against having another child due to the economic downturn;


  • 74% of parents say the government is not doing enough for children;
  • 8 of 10 parents (83%) believe that the impact of the federal debt on the next generation is a serious problem facing America’s children.


  • 1 in 5 parents (21%) say they have been unable to provide their children with the quality of education they would like as a result of the current economy.
  • 36% of parents say their kids have not been able to participate in some of the activities their friends participate in as a result of the recession;
  • 8 of 10 parents believe college debt is a serious problem.


  • 85% believe access to affordable, quality health care is a serious concern.

“We’ve heard loud and clear from our audience of moms that they want a president who can fix our educational system and help hardworking families out of their financial rut,” said Dana Points, editor in chief of Parents.

"Casting a Vote For The Next Generation: A Survey of Parents On Their Priorities and Concerns for Their Children" was a joint initiative of The Center for the Next Generation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit strategic communications and policy organization, committed to building a safe, secure and prosperous future for the next generation of Americans, and Parents Magazine, America's #1 family magazine for more than 85 years.  The Parents brand reflects a powerful community of 15 million monthly magazine readers and more than 4 million unique monthly users devoted to celebrating the joys of parenthood, raising healthy kids and creating healthy families.

In November of 2012, The Center for the Next Generation, with Parents magazine as a key media partner, will launch Too Small to Fail, a multi-year, multi-platform national movement to raise awareness about the troubled state of America’s children and how the country can come together to create a stronger future for our Next Generation.  Too Small to Fail is more than a traditional public education campaign -- it is a social movement, and a call to action -- that will mobilize a wide range of partners to help give the issues facing America’s Next Generation a platform and a voice for change. Too Small to Fail will utilize state-of-the-art strategic communications tactics to engage opinion leaders, parents and young people themselves in an ongoing dialogue about this critical issue. 



A national online survey conducted by Research+Data Insights of 2,173 parents on behalf of Parents Magazine and The Center for the Next Generation. Subset include parents with kids 0-12 (n=1,676), parents with kids 13-18 (n=980). The data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of parents in the United States. Because the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in the online panel, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated.


About The Center for the Next Generation

The Center for the Next Generation works to shape national dialogue around two major challenges that affect the prospects of America’s Next Generation—advancing a sustainable energy future and improving opportunities for children and families. As a nonpartisan organization, the Center generates original strategies that advance these goals through research, policy development and strategic communications. In our home state of California, the Center works to create ground-tested solutions that demonstrate success to the rest of the nation.

About Parents:

Parents was founded in 1926 and, along with American Baby, FamilyFun and Ser Padres, makes up The Meredith Parents Network portfolio of parenthood brands.   Parents is the leading voice for a community of more than 15 million moms who are engaged and inspired by the brand’s trusted content. In turn, these moms enlighten and inspire others by joining ongoing conversations about parenthood via as well through Parents’ robust presence on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.  Parents is dedicated to engaging and inspiring moms with the information they need, wherever they go.




For the Center for the Next Generation:

Lisa Cohen, Communications, 310-395-2544

For Parents:

Colleen Schwartz, Associate Director of Communications, 212.551.7033,


Patrick Taylor, Vice President, National Media Group Communications; 212-551-6984; @primetimeprguy

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