Most Americans take their shoes off at home, but don't expect their guests to

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
January 17, 2018, 3:00 PM GMT+0

A third of hosts who always take off their own shoes never ask their guests to

In many parts of the world, it’s an understood social custom to remove one’s shoes before entering your own home or any other person’s residence. That line is blurred in the US with new YouGov polls revealing that while most Americans (87%) take off their shoes in their own homes, it can be a toss-up whether a host will ask a guest to remove his or her shoes. New research from YouGov Omnibus finds that one in two Americans never ask their visitors to take off their shoes when entering their home (50%).

The latest results show that nearly a third of the country (31%) will “always” take off their shoes at home and others follow suit “most of the time” (26%), ”sometimes” (18%), or “rarely” (12%). Geographically, 92% of people living in the Midwest say that they take off their shoes, compared to the Northeast (88%), West (86%), and South (83%).

Sorting the data by age reveals that older millennials (ages 25-34) and those ages 35-44 report highest rates of shoe removal at 90% and 89% respectively. The latter group also leads the country in saying they’ll always remove their shoes at home (40% compared to 31%).

While a majority the country remove their own shoes at home, YouGov asked if they expect their guests to do the same. One in ten (10%) will “always” request their guests remove their shoes though slightly more say they’ll ask less frequently, either “most of the time” (11%), “sometimes” (13%), or “rarely” (13%).

Slightly more men (52%) than women (49%) say they’ll ask their visitors to take off their shoes sometimes. People living in the South are the most likely to say they never ask visitors take off their shoes (58%). Those in the Midwest (61%) and Northeast (57%) are the most likely of the four regions to say they would at least sometimes ask guests to remove their shoes.

The poll also suggests that requesting guests take off their shoes may be a generational matter. Those 55 and older (64%) are fourteen percentage points more likely than the general public (50%) to say they would never ask their guests do so. While just over a third of those in the 55+ bracket say they’ll ever ask guests to remove their shoes, 54% of middle-aged Americans (ages 35-54) and 64% of millennials said they at least sometimes ask their guests to take off their shoes.

Data provided by YouGov Profiles suggests that social decorum might be at play. Of those who say they “always” take off their own shoes at home, only a quarter (26%) expect the same etiquette from their guests.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus and YouGov Profiles

Image: Getty