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Both Democrats and Republicans Want More Government Support for Kids and Families

Our new "State of Kids and Families in America" report reveals how both voters and young people feel about the challenges and solutions facing families as we approach the 2024 election.

Black and white image of an Asian woman and a young Asian girl.

The 2024 election is proving to be one of the most consequential for American kids and families. Every issue taking the stage—including mental health and the economy—is a high-stakes one for families across the country. But we're also entering this election cycle with an electorate that is more deeply divided than ever before.

For those reasons, as we move toward November, we need to center kids and families in the narrative around this election to ensure we find solutions that work.

Today, we released the results of two new surveys, in partnership with Lake Research Partners and Echelon Insights—one survey of likely voters and, uniquely, another of kids and teenagers age 12–17. These surveys illuminate the state of kids and families in the U.S. by exploring voters' and young people's current concerns, their hopes for the future, and the solutions that they believe can make real change.

What the results show is that everyone—Democrat and Republican, parent and nonparent—has concerns for the future of America's children. But more importantly, there are similarly bipartisan desires for the government to take action to better support kids and families.

Here's what kids and voters told us:

  • For all voters, kids and families are intrinsically connected with concerns about the economy.
    About 9 in 10 (89%) parents of children age 0 to 18 agree (57% strongly agree), and 84% of parents of young adults age 19 to 24 agree (52% strongly agree), that being a parent today is financially harder than ever before. Among all voters, 81% are concerned about children's economic opportunities.

  • There is broad support for improving K–12 education, and mental health is squarely on their agenda.
    Improving and reforming education is by far the top recommendation to better the lives of American children among Republicans (34%) and among Democrats (36%). At the same time, voters lean toward describing the mental health of children in their community as "just fair" or "poor" (48%) rather than "excellent" or "good" (42%), and view schools as an important site for greater provision of mental health care.

  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, voters across party lines favor investment in kids and families, see a role for government, and think that politicians are failing to deliver.
    Among likely voters, 67% say the federal government spends too little on investments that benefit children and youth; 62% of likely voters say the government spends too little on programs that benefit children and youth. And teens don't disagree—they want more from their schools and their leaders, and worry that the lives their parents lead today may not be accessible to them in the future. Further, 78% of voters and 60% of teens think that politicians and elected officials are not doing well in reflecting the needs, desires, and experiences of younger people in this country.

These results are driving the discussion at our first annual Common Sense Summit on America's Kids and Families in San Francisco. We've brought together leaders from across industries—education, policy, research, technology, and more—to find solutions that can drive positive change for kids and families.

For over 20 years, we at Common Sense have been helping parents and caregivers, educators, policymakers, industry leaders, and others understand just how important it is to put kids and families first when it comes to building a safer, healthier digital landscape. The summit is part of our focus in 2024 to continue to drive change for kids, including our ongoing commitments to ending the youth mental health crisis, leveraging the power of AI for good, working for digital equity, and deepening our research and understanding of the digital world's impact on kids.

Cate Gormley, Celinda Lake, Alysia Snell, and Izzy Vinyard of Lake Research Partners, Kristen Soltis Anderson of Echelon Insights, and Marisa Naughton of Common Sense Media contributed this report.

Full methodology is available within the report.

Amanda Lenhart

Amanda Lenhart leads research efforts at Common Sense Media. She has spent her career studying how technology affects human lives, with a special focus on families and children. Most recently, as the program director for Health and Data at Data & Society Research Institute, Amanda investigated how social media platforms design for the digital well-being of youth. She began her career at the Pew Research Center, pioneering the Center’s work studying how teens and families use social and mobile technologies.