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Californians Overwhelmingly Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education

A survey released by the Public Policy Institute of California on January 5, 2006 found overwhelming support among Californians for comprehensive sexuality education. Seventy-eight percent of state residents supported programs that teach about abstinence as well as how to obtain and use contraceptives. Furthermore, residents stated that the federal government should pay for this instruction.1

These beliefs reached across racial, ethnic, and ideological groups. Seventy-two percent of Asians, 83 % of Blacks, 74% of Latinos, and 81 % of Whites supported comprehensive programs.2In addition, 66% of evangelical Christians agreed that comprehensive sexuality education should be taught in schools. There was also strong support for government funding to provide both low-income Californians and young people with contraception with 73% of likely voters supporting such services for young people and 79% supporting such services for low-income residents.

Commenting on the survey, Mark Baldassare, the statewide survey director for the Public Policy Institute of California and author of the survey, stated, “despite the perception that ideological and political attitudes make for deep divisions over issues such as sex education, we find just the opposite. The widespread support for sex education programs seems to be fueled by belief in their efficacy.”4

This level of support is not surprising. Nationwide, polls have found that 93% of parents of junior high school students and 91% of parents of high school students believe it is very or somewhat important to have sexuality education as part of the school curriculum.5 Surveys in several states, including Illinois , South Carolina , Texas , and Washington , have found similarly high levels of support for sexuality education programs that teach about both abstinence and contraption.6


  1. Mark Baldassare, PPIC Statewide Survey (California : Public Policy Institute of California, 2005), accessed 14 January 2006, <>.
  2. Ibid, 10.
  3. Ibid, 13.
  4. Public Policy Institute of California , “Special Survey on Population: Let’s Talk About Sex: Californians Say Education, Access to Birth Control, Curb Social Ills,” Press Release published on 5 January 2006, accessed 14 January 2006, <>.
  5. Sex Education in America : General Public/Parents Survey. (Washington , DC : National Public Radio, Kaiser Family Foundation, Kennedy School of Government, 2004), 5.
  6. Sexual Health Education Poll of Washington State Parents and Voters, (Planned Parenthood Public Policy Network of Washington , 2004); August Scripps Howard Texas Poll (Texas : Scripps Howard, August 9-26, 2004); South Carolina Speaks 2004 (South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2004).