Fewer Americans see their romantic partners as a source of life's meaning

A new report from Pew Research Center that surveyed more than 2,500 Americans found that 9% of respondents cited their spouse or romantic partner as a source of meaning in life. That’s quite a drop from 2017, when 20% said the same.

Both married and unmarried adults felt this way, but the decline was greatest among those who were married. In 2017, 31% of this cohort found life’s meaning in their spouse. Now, 13% said the same.

In fact, viewing your partner or spouse as part of life’s meaning has seen one of the biggest decreases among all other responses. But most people (49%) said their family and children were the source of life’s meaning; it’s possible they were including their spouse in this. But that, too, saw a drop by 7 percentage points since 2017. Twenty percent of respondents found friends as a source of life’s meaning, down by only 1%.