2020 was a long year. I doubt many of us feel like we’ve remained unchanged since all of this began. I, for one, feel so far away from the person I was twelve months ago. Many of my friends feel similarly. But what does the data have to say?
Now that the 2020 Marriage Pact has closed, we can look at the aggregated data and see how much the Stanford population has changed since the last Marriage Pact. How much damage could one year really do?
The survey responses from year to year, on an aggregate level, have not remained stagnant. We’ll start with the biggest area of change—you guessed it—preferences surrounding politics.
One year ago, only 40% of people cared about the political affiliation of their match; this year, 52% did. The 12% jump is not insignificant. This change may have something to do with increasing polarization or the election year. You’ve heard it before: We’re a country divided! It’s intriguing to see that reflected in the Marriage Pact data.
Another political shift: Voting.
Almost a full point difference here in how people respond to the statement “I always vote.” Once again, I’m sure this is because we just went through a particularly intense election season. It’s heartwarming to see that political engagement is up, at least for now.
In general, all of the political questions saw a small shift to the left. One example: people were less likely to agree that “Gender roles exist for a good reason” this year.
People are more pro-gun this year, which is especially surprising given the left-leaning shift we saw on all of the other political questions. Not sure what’s causing this change: Stanford, thoughts?
Next up: activism. This has also been an important year for social justice and human rights, so it makes sense to see more people care about social activism this year (an average response jumped from 4.4 to 4.7).
The final two questions with big shifts in average response are wild cards. Not political, not activism, not anything that I’d expect to see change over the course of a year. First, we have one of the most divisive questions: would you be disappointed if your partner gained weight?
According to Stanford, slightly less so that we would have been last year. It’s funny to see this average drop (3.7 to 3.3). Maybe some people are packing on the quarantine pounds and feeling more generous. Or maybe we care a bit less about physical appearance in the Zoom era!
Finally, we have “I consider myself to be an adult.”
The question wording changed slightly this year, so maybe we can chalk up some of the change to that. There’s a huge spike in people that answered “6” and “7” on this question, though, and it makes me wonder if all the craziness of the last year has pushed us to grow up a little bit. Welcome to adulthood, Stanford. You’re here now, whether you like it or not.