Majority (55%) of Americans Willing to Pay More for Clothing Not Made Using Child Labor

Three in Four (77%) Aren’t Likely to Keep Buying Clothing Brands Made With Child Labor

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New York, NY – Most Americans are willing to spend a little extra when it comes to making sure the products they buy are made without the use of child labor, according to a new Ipsos Public Affairs survey conducted on behalf of ChildFund International. A majority (55%) of Americans indicate that they’re willing to pay more for clothing not made using child labor, while a minority (45%) say they aren’t willing to pay more for these purchases.

The average American, overall, is willing to pay approximately 19% more for clothing purchases made without the use of child labor. Among those who say they’re willing to pay more, the average person is willing to pay 34% more.

Younger Americans are most willing to spend more on child-labor free purchases as the average American, ages 18-34, is willing to spend about 27% more for these clothing purchases, with this increasing to 44% among those who are actually willing to pay more. The average American senior, ages 55+, is willing to pay the least (13%), even when only factoring in those willing to pay more (25%), with the average middle-aged American falling in the middle (27% average, 44% among those willing to pay more).

Americans making under $50,000 annually (51%) are more inclined to say they’re not willing to pay more for such products compared to those making this amount or more (40%), however when just looking at those who are willing to pay more this lower income group (36%) is willing to pay more, on average, than those in the higher income group (33%).

With most Americans indicating that they’d be willing to pay more for child-labor free products, would they be willing to give up purchasing typical clothing purchases if they knew they were made using child labor? Less than one in four (23%) Americans say they’re ‘likely’ (8% very/15% somewhat) to continue buying clothing brands they often purchase if they were found to be using child labor, while three in four (77%) ‘aren’t likely’ (41% not at all likely/36% not very likely) to continue making these purchases.

Interestingly, despite being the age cohort that would be willing to spend a higher percentage more for child-labor free products, younger Americans are also the most likely to continue buying brands even if they’ve been discovered to be using child labor. Younger Americans (30%) are more likely than middle-aged (21%) and senior (19%) Americans to be likely to continue buying these products, while seniors (81%) and middle-aged (79%) are significantly more likely than younger Americans (70%) to say that they would stop making such purchases. Additionally, income level does not have much of a factor when figuring whether or not Americans would continue to purchase these types of products (22% likely for those making under $50,000 vs. 24% likely for those making $50,000 or more).

The data also reveal that men (30%) are nearly twice as likely as women (17%) to say they’re likely to continue buying clothing brands after becoming aware of child labor usage in their production, while women (83%) are not as likely to continue buying these brands compared to men (70%).

Every day many children around the world are put into exploitative and dangerous situations by being used as child laborers, but Americans drastically miss the mark when it comes to how many children, ages 5-14, in developing countries are involved in child labor. While UNICEF has estimated this figure to be approximately 150 million children within this age group, most Americans believe this figure to be much lower.

The average American indicates that about 6.5 million children, ages 5-14, in developing countries are being used as child laborers, accounting for roughly 5% of the actual amount worldwide. Astoundingly, three in four (73%) Americans say there are under 1 million child laborers in developing countries, while nearly all (95%) indicate this figure to be 25 million (20% of the actual reported figure) or less. Only 1% of Americans accurately report that there are at least 150 million child laborers in these countries.

On average, men (7.9 million) believe there are more child laborers in developing countries than women (5.3 million), while middle-aged Americans (9 million) cite more child laborers in developing countries than their senior (4.4 million) or younger (5.9 million) cohorts. Considering the issue of child labor might hit closer to home for them, parents (8.3 million) believe there are more child laborers than Americans without children (5.9 million). Americans in the higher income group (6.7 million) believe there are more child laborers in developing countries compared to those in the lower income group (6.3 million), albeit only slightly.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted June 26th to 30th, 2013 on behalf of ChildFund International. For the survey, a nationally representative sample of 1,022 randomly-selected adults aged 18 and over residing in the U.S. was interviewed by online via Ipsos’ US online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all US adults, aged 18 and over, been surveyed. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/gender composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more information on this news release please contact:

Sean Simpson
Associate Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

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Majority (55%) of Americans Willing to Pay More for Clothing Not Made Using Child Labor


Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs