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Parents in states with huge population growth reveal what pro-family policies they're looking for

Parents in states with huge population growth revealed what pro-family policies they support and are looking for states to pursue in a new report.

Americans are flocking to Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina, while states like California and New York have seen their populations decline since the pandemic

These generally conservative states have seen their population grow by 10% or more from 2010-2022, an analysis of U.S. Census data shows in a new report. Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, are also attracting younger families, with more children under five living in these states than a decade ago.

As more families settle down in these southeastern states, the report asked these parents what policies are most important to them.

"We wanted to figure out what's politically popular when it comes to advancing their status as family-friendly places to live and work," study author Brad Wilcox told Fox News Digital.


The December joint report from the Institute for Family Studies and the Ethics and Public Policy Center analyzed new survey results from YouGov asking parents in these five states how they feel about different proposed pro-family policies. The results were further broken down by political affiliation.

"All 16 policy proposals we polled were either 'strongly' or 'somewhat' supported by a majority of parents with children under 18," the report said.

Parents of all political stripes voiced support for a property tax credit for parents, for instance. Other policy proposals included universal school lunches, eliminating sales tax on diapers, state-funded paid parental leave, increasing child care vouchers for low-income families and $5,000 education savings accounts.

These findings reveal parents "across the board are open to policymakers’ ideas for material support that would make family life easier. The five policies that ranked highest among parents would all require some amount of public funds, either in direct expenditures or in forgone tax revenue," the report stated.

"Parents are not simply looking for government to get out of the way; they support proactive steps to make it easier to raise a family. Parents, particularly Republican ones, are concerned not just about the economic stresses on families, but the cultural challenges they must navigate," it added.


Wilcox said their report shows Democratic parents tend to favor "programs that ease the cost of family life" while Republican parents "are more likely to address cultural concerns." However, he said both groups "tend to be open to a variety of cultural and economic measures."

For Democrats, this means paid school lunches, state-funded parental leave and Medicaid coverage for pregnant women. Republican parents, meanwhile, tend to lean into cultural issues like age verification for online pornography, teaching kids the "success sequence" in public schools, and "establishing a state commission on the well-being of men and boys."

Republicans, Democrats and Independents surveyed supported a child tax credit, but Democrats were more likely to say the tax credit should only be available to low-income families.

Raising taxes to provide direct payments to parents wasn't well supported by any group of parents, but a state child care program received a plurality of support among the groups.

While popularity is not the sole factor in determining what policies states should pursue, this data shows a "hunger from families for state governments to take a more proactive" approach in pushing policies to make their state more family-friendly, the report said.

"Supporting families need not require a blank check or a revolution in social policy; some of the policies parents most strongly support would have little to no direct impact on state budgets. Policymakers at the state level should take the goal of being the ‘best state in which to raise a family’ seriously. Doing so means listening to parents and finding policy solutions to address the challenges of raising a family, both in affording the cost of living and in raising children in the manner parents deem best," it stated.

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