Is marriage becoming irrelevant?

Most key subgroups are less likely now than in 2013, and all are less likely than in 2006, to view it as critical that couples with children together legally marry. Political liberals and young adults are two groups whose opinions have not changed appreciably in the past seven years.

Frequent church attendees (45%), political conservatives (41%) and Americans aged 55 and older (38%) and are among the groups most likely to believe marriage is crucial for parents. Democrats (18%), those who seldom or never attend church (19%), political liberals (21%) and moderates (22%), and adults under age 55 (23%) are among the groups least likely to regard marriage as being very important for such couples.

Parents of minor children (30%) are not significantly more likely than nonparents (27%) to view marriage as critical. Those who are currently married (33%) are slightly more likely than those who are not married (25%) to say it is important, though the current eight-percentage-point gap between these two groups has narrowed from 16 points in 2006.