• Written by Chris Knoester, Associate Professor of Sociology, The Ohio State University
82% of Americans want paid maternity leave – making it as popular as chocolate CC BY-SA[1] The United States is the only wealthy nation[2] that doesn’t guarantee paid leave to mothers after they give birth or adopt a child. The vast majority of Americans would like to see that change. According to a YouGov poll of 21,000 people conducted between March 25 and April 1, 2021[3], 82% of Americans think employees should be able to take paid maternity leave, including for adoption. That level of support makes this benefit about as popular as chocolate[4]. In fact, more Americans want to see paid parental leave in place than would like the government to refrain from cutting their Social Security benefits[5]. President Joe Biden’s proposed US$1.8 trillion package of new and expanded benefits[6], which requires congressional approval, would eventually make it possible for all workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave totaling as much as $4,000 per month[7]. This leave would be for mothers and fathers alike, as well as caring for yourself or another loved one. As scholars who have extensively studied[8] paid leave[9], we have been struck by the persistence of Americans’ positive attitudes toward this benefit. In our newly released study[10] about attitudes among U.S. adults regarding paid leave based on data from 2012, 82% of Americans supported parents receiving paid leave – a proportion that’s identical to the recent YouGov poll. Repeatedly, since then, polls have found[11] that at least 80%[12] of Americans support paid maternity leave. In an era of extreme political polarization[13], it is astounding that so many Americans can agree on anything. Strong support is even apparent across the political spectrum: 73% of Republicans, 83% of independents and 94% of Democrats[14] back the policy. Nine states[15] and Washington, D.C. have their own paid family leave programs, and federal workers[16] got paid leave in 2020. But only 21% of U.S. workers[17] can take paid parental leave. The lack of a federal paid leave policy that covers all employees results in the current patchwork of different policies that are difficult to understand and generally not available to most families. Our research suggests that one reason why paid leave policies have not been more widespread in the U.S. is that Americans are hesitant to support government programs that may require tax hikes. For instance, slightly fewer than half of Americans endorsed using some government funding for paid leave in 2012. Yet, there is evidence[18] that this resistance has been fading, and employers are becoming more supportive[19] of these policies as well. Support for paid leave for fathers used to be relatively low. About 50% of Americans, for example, endorsed paid leave for fathers in the 2012 survey data we reviewed. With more active fathering[20] gaining popularity since then, support for paid paternity leave[21] has been rising. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed by YouGov in early 2021 backed paid leave for moms and dads alike. Years of research underscores the benefits of paid maternity leave[22] for women and their families. Our research has demonstrated that when fathers take paternity leave, they tend to develop better relationships with their kids[23] and partners[24], become more actively involved in parenting[25] and get divorced less frequently[26]. Given that Americans have wanted paid leave for a long time and its benefits are increasingly clear, we believe that a national paid leave policy that covers all parents is an important step to improving the quality of life in America. [Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter[27].]


  1. ^ CC BY-SA (
  2. ^ the only wealthy nation (
  3. ^ YouGov poll of 21,000 people conducted between March 25 and April 1, 2021 (
  4. ^ popular as chocolate (
  5. ^ Social Security benefits (
  6. ^ US$1.8 trillion package of new and expanded benefits (
  7. ^ 12 weeks of paid family leave totaling as much as $4,000 per month (
  8. ^ scholars who have extensively studied (
  9. ^ paid leave (
  10. ^ newly released study (
  11. ^ polls have found (
  12. ^ at least 80% (
  13. ^ extreme political polarization (
  14. ^ 73% of Republicans, 83% of independents and 94% of Democrats (
  15. ^ Nine states (
  16. ^ federal workers (
  17. ^ 21% of U.S. workers (
  18. ^ there is evidence (
  19. ^ employers are becoming more supportive (
  20. ^ more active fathering (
  21. ^ paid paternity leave (
  22. ^ maternity leave (
  23. ^ better relationships with their kids (
  24. ^ partners (
  25. ^ more actively involved in parenting (
  26. ^ get divorced less frequently (
  27. ^ Sign up for our weekly newsletter (

Authors: Chris Knoester, Associate Professor of Sociology, The Ohio State University

Read more

Metropolitan republishes selected articles from The Conversation USA with permission

Visit The Conversation to see more

Entertainment News

My Musical Journey – Zarbo

People call me Zarbo. I call myself an artist/producer currently focused on creating catchy electronic dance music and exploring new genres that didn’t exist at the beginning of my musical career in the ‘70’s.  I am the original founding member, fr...

Alex Zarbo - avatar Alex Zarbo

News Company asked some Music Industry “Insiders” their thoughts on the current state and future of “Real Music”

To get a feel for the current state of the music industry, NewsCo asked some insiders to share their thoughts. Here is what they had to say. Real Music, to me, means music created by real instruments where you can hear the bow go across the fiddle o...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Navigating the Gender Gap, Part 2 For Women: How to Work with Men in Music

After comparing notes with some of my female music friends, I’ve come up with some pointers for women about working with male colleagues. As I mentioned in my previous article, “How to Work with Women in Music,” these guidelines are based on per...

Angela Predhomme - avatar Angela Predhomme

The Making Of “ Birkenhead Drill”

The process of self producing a full length album in the middle of a pandemic has been an unending lesson in humility, but it’s also affirmed our love of music and more importantly the music we make together. The journey of Birkenhead Drill taught ...

The Jones Title - avatar The Jones Title

A Healing Power of Rap and Rock

What do Jay-Z, Rick Ruben, Neil Diamond, Snoop Dogg, Chago G. Williams, and Toto’s Steve Lukather have in common?  They can be combined into Six Degrees of Inclusion (not separation per-se).   They all have millions of fans and they have all hugely...

Rebecca DGD - avatar Rebecca DGD

Gold selling and Platinum Award Winning Recording Artist Ny'a, giving back to her community

Gold selling and Platinum Award Winning Recording Artist Ny'a, will be Live in concert on Sessions Livestream, Saturday April 24th at 7:00pm EST. Tickets are $5 dollars, with a donation going to Rahway Food For Friends. Ny'a believe in giving back ...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Metropolitan Business News

4 Creative suggestions for your first business card

Almost all businesses nowadays have a business card. Business cards are important to easily showcase your brand, yourself, and your business. However, not all business cards are made the same. Som...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo


Ask any of her thousands of global followers - especially the 11,000-plus who’ve learned to monetize their social media, and the 700-plus who’ve created six figure incomes – and they’ll be happy to ...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Why Creativity Is So Important In Digital Marketing

The Role of Creativity in Digital Marketing's Future  As marketers, one of the key tasks is to be creative and look for ways to generate demand and interest in our services and products. Creati...

NewsCo - avatar NewsCo

Essential Tips for Developing Corporate Websites

The corporate industry, just like the others, is experiencing a massive technological revolution. Organizations have changed their marketing criteria by embracing the internet. Therefore, do not be ...

News Co - avatar News Co

How to Make a Personal Injury Claim for Minors

As a parent, you want to make sure your child is always safe. But as much as you want to keep him under your watch, it is impossible to be there for him all the time. When he is out there attendin...

News Co - avatar News Co

Dress for Success - Style Essentials for Every Businessmen

Did you ever glance at a person in passing and instantly think, “Wow, they must be successful”? It seems like the rich and successful people always stand out from the crowd without even trying, ...

Diana Smith - avatar Diana Smith

Writers Wanted

News Co Media

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion