Public culture is defined as the normative context within which public life takes place. This context includes the ideals, beliefs, values, symbols, stories, and public rituals that bind people together and direct them in common action. This common action emanates from public culture, is a reflection of that culture’s ideals, and reinforces its normative boundaries. The Institute’s surveys provide information about America’s public culture that bridge the empirical (number crunching) and theoretical (abstraction) and enable us to address political and cultural changes taking place across America.
Culture of American Families Project
The Culture of American Families Project is a three-year investigation of the home cultures that are molding the next generation of American adults. Generously funded by the John Templeton Foundation, the project's first phase was a national survey of 3,000 parents of school-age children. This was followed by intensive, in-person interviews with 101 parents from the larger sample. Findings from both studies will be disseminated broadly to parents, educators, parenting organizations, and policy makers.
Culture of American Families: Executive Report
(Fielded in September 2011-March 2012) | Download PDF >>
The Culture of American Families: Executive Report provides an extensive summary of the findings in the Culture of American Families: A National Survey and Culture of American Families: Interview Report and includes thoughts for practitioners working with American families on a daily basis.
Culture of American Families: A National Survey
(Fielded in September 2011-January 2012) | Download PDF >>
The Culture of American Families: A National Survey provides a summary and discussion of key findings from the nationally representative survey of parents of school-age children. It explores the state of the American Family from the parents’ perspective, including their activities, cultural beliefs and assumptions, aspirations for their children’s future, and interactions with their children. It also introduces four distinct family cultures—The Faithful, Engaged Progressives, The Detached, and American Dreamers—as a way to understand the moral ecology within which children, and their parents, reside.
This report includes the complete survey questionnaire with the distributions of response to each question.
Culture of American Families: Interview Report
(Fielded in November 2011-March 2012) | Download PDF >>
The Culture of American Families: Interview Report provides preliminary findings and analysis from the in-person interviews. It addresses parents’ sense of waning influence and authority, as reflected in their diminished trust in their neighbors and community and their perceptions about technology in the lives of their children. In addition, it explores how parents seek to influence their children by encouraging children to “think for yourself” and maintaining close relationships through constant communication.
Culture of American Families: Tables from the National survey
(Fielded in September 2011-January 2012)
Cross-tabulations of survey questions by key demographic variables will be available in early 2013 via PDF.
Surveys of American Public Culture
“What makes a survey like this fascinating are all the cross-currents that reflect the complexity, orneriness and sheer self-contradiction of the American people.”
—Peter Steinfels, The New York Times
The Surveys of American Public Culture provide information about America’s public culture that bridges the empirical (number crunching) and theoretical (abstraction) and enables us to address political and cultural changes taking place across America.
(Fielded in 1990) | Available Online >>
The Life Choices survey was designed to draw out the subtle nuances of the broad middle in America—rather than the ideological red/blue divide—on controversial moral and legal issues dividing our nation. We uncovered the fundamental beliefs, convictions, and values that inform American opinions on quality of life by asking questions about illegal immigration, nuclear war, homelessness, suicide, child abuse, drug abuse, environmentalism, animal rights, gender roles, suffering, sexuality, and abortion.
The State of Disunion
(Fielded in 1996) | Available Online >>
What was the state of the union (or disunion) at the turn of the millenia? For volume two, we interviewed more than 2,000 Americans to produce a summary of popular political perception, opinion, and expectation.
The Politics of Character
(Fielded in 2000) | Available Online >>
In this third volume, we take up questions surrounding character and its political significance. We consider how issues of morality and character play in the public’s mind, particularly as they pertain to political life. We also attempt to map the moral dispositions and commitments of typical Americans, examine their views of political leadership, and get a sense of their attitudes toward the current state of political life.
For further information please contact Carl Desportes Bowman