Statistics on Spanking in America

It’s the oldest argument in parenting: Dad thinks his little boy needs to learn a lesson, and mom thinks a spanking is too harsh. Except that’s not what the data shows, as a large majority of both men and women say spanking kids is acceptable.

Corporal punishment involves hitting someone physically, and spanking is a specific type used to eliminate undesirable behavior in children. While 76 percent of men say it is acceptable, only 65 percent of women agree. A majority of both genders approve of it, but the popularity of the practice breaks down along ethnic, religious, and regional lines.

Only 30 percent of Asians approve of spanking, while a whopping 82 percent of African-Americans do so. The numbers for caucasians, Native Americans, and Hispanics follow the national average, at 71 percent, 75 percent, and 74 percent respectively.

Spanking is most popular in the South, where 78 percent support it. It is least popular in the Northeast, where 63 percent do so.

78 percent of Christians call this practice acceptable, while only 66 percent of non-Christians agree.

Interestingly, the more education a person has, the less likely he or she is to support spanking. 87 percent of men with only a high school diploma call the practice acceptable, while 67 percent of women with that level of education do so. Even fewer men with a college degree (64 percent) agree, and only 57 percent of women at that level do so. Nevertheless, this is still a majority.

Self-described Republicans (80 percent) are more likely to agree with spanking than self-described Democrats (65 percent).

You might think that young people, who are more likely to have experienced spanking in their recent the past, would be more likely to oppose it. The data contradicts this idea, however. Among three different age groups, the youngest proved most in favor of the practice.

Men between the ages of 18 and 24 most support spanking at 85 percent, while only 68 percent of women in that age group do so. By contrast, only 77 percent of men from ages 25 to 44 agree with the practice, while 74 percent of men from ages 45 to 65 do so. Women at those ages supported it by 68 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

Although a great many men and women support spanking, many may not support a school’s right to spank their children. In 19 states, however, it is still legal for children to be spanked in school.

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