Many Americans regret not preserving conversations with loved ones before they died

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
June 01, 2022, 9:29 PM GMT+0

A recent YouGov poll of 6,090 Americans finds that many people have recorded or documented conversations with loved ones in order to preserve memories of them. Even more say they regret not preserving memories of people close to them after they’ve died. While many people say they would like others to save their conversations as memories after their own death, few say someone has already documented conversations with them.

One in three Americans (33%) say they’ve recorded or documented a conversation they’ve had with a person they’re close to in order to preserve memories of them, while 59% say they have not done this. Perhaps reflecting the increasing availability of recording technology, American adults under 45 are nearly twice as likely to say they’ve documented conversations with loved ones than are Americans 45 and older. Men also are slightly more likely than women to say they’ve preserved conversations with loved ones.

Nearly half of Americans (47%) say they regret not recording or documenting a conversation with a person they were close to who is no longer alive. People who said they had already documented conversations with loved ones in the previous question were even more likely to say they regret not recording certain conversations before a person close to them died (77% say they regret not doing this).

Many people (44%) say they would like someone else to record or document conversations they have in order to preserve their memory for others in the future. While 17% say someone has already done this, 27% say no one yet has. About one in three people (31%) say they would not like for someone to do this. Younger people are far more likely than older people to say someone has preserved conversations with them, and somewhat less likely to oppose people doing so. Men are nearly twice as likely as women to say someone has already recorded or documented some of their conversations.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this poll:

Methodology: This Daily Agenda survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 6,090 U.S. adults interviewed online on May 31 - June 1, 2022. The samples were weighted to be representative of the U.S. population, based on gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.

Image: Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

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