There is a racial divide in U.S. adults' willingness to let children attend sleepovers

Linley SandersData Journalist
January 23, 2023, 7:04 PM GMT+0

Overnight sleepovers are much more likely to be permitted by white adults than by people of color or immigrants to the United States — confirming a racial and cultural divide around allowing children to sleep at a friend's house that was recently highlighted in a Washington Post article.

Many parenting blogs and TikTok videos have explored the hesitation that some parents feel around allowing their children to sleep at someone else's house. The list of concerns that parents often provide include the possible lack of supervision, their kids being put in situations of bullying or abuse, potential gun access, or pressure to drink alcohol. Culturally, sleepovers are also less of a norm in many Latin American households or Black households.

A new YouGov poll shows that while 80% of white adults would "definitely" or "probably" allow their children to attend overnight sleepovers, only 55% of Hispanic adults and 50% of Black adults say they would allow their children to do so. There is also a gap among immigration status, with 60% of immigrants saying they would allow sleepovers. That goes up to 65% for first-generation Americans and is higher for second- or third-generation immigrants.

White Americans are also more likely (71%) to say they were usually allowed to have overnight sleepovers with friends as a child, compared to 48% of Hispanic adults and even fewer Black (41%) or Asian (41%) adults. Half of immigrant citizens and non-citizens (50%) and first-generation Americans say they were permitted to have sleepovers. That allowance is higher among second- and third- generation Americans (60% and 62%, respectively).

About half of U.S. adults (52%) say sleepovers have more of a positive impact on a child's well-being. One in eight say they have more of a negative effect, and 15% say they have no effect. Seven in 10 adults who would allow sleepovers see them as more of a positive experience, compared to just 10% of people who would not allow them.

— Matthew Smith and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

See the results from this poll:

Methodology: This Daily Questions survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 6,243 U.S. adults interviewed online on January 18 - 19, 2023. 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: Adobe Stock (fizkes)

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