Americans’ desire for larger families hits 50-Year high

Americans’ view of the ideal number of children in a family has crept up to the highest level since 1973, according to the latest survey from Gallup.

Americans are about evenly divided in their views of whether smaller versus larger families are preferable. When asked about the ideal number of children for a family to have, 45% of Americans favour larger families, a steep increase from 38% in 2013, and an even wider gap from 33% in 2003.

This figure includes 29% who say having three children is ideal, 12% who think four is best, and 2% each who prefer having five or six or more children.

A 44% plurality of U.S. adults think having two children is best, and 3% say a single child is ideal.

This contrasts sharply with previous results.

Between 1967 and 1971, preferences for larger families plummeted from 70% to 52%. This drop was likely fuelled at least in part by concerns about a global population explosion, and changes in societal norms.

In 1973, Americans’ preference for smaller families of one or two children became the standard.