Family Structure in the United States


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Family Structure in the United States

The American family structure has changed significantly over the past few decades, as it has deteriorated as the days progresses. According to the data from the family change presentation, the marital status of men has changed over the years. A large number of men who have never married has continued to increase over time rising from 30% from the year 1990 to almost 35% in 2016. The percentage of married men, on the other hand, has continued to decrease from 70% in the year 1970 to 55 percent in the year 2016. Besides, the rate of divorced men has as well continued to increase over time from 3% in the year 1950 to around 10 percent in 2016 (U.S. Census Bureau). According to this data, it is evident therefore that the family structure that is composed of the father, mother and children has continued to break, with large numbers of men finding themselves single either by choice or divorce.

The same trend is evidenced in the marital status of women. The percentage of married women continues to decrease over time from 65% in 1960 to 50% in 2016. The number of women who have never married as well continues to rise from 20% 1950 to 30% in 2017, while the number of divorced women has also been on the rise from 3% in 1950 to more than 10 percent in 2017 (U.S. Census Bureau). It is, therefore, true to conclude that the family structure is deteriorating as there is a large number of divorced women and unmarried women in the society, making a different family construct from that in the 1950s.

A complete family should have both father and mother bring up their children together, but this has not been the trend over the past few years. In the past, the family structure was incomplete without the father and mother together but presently, that does not matter. The two parent household is in the decline. According to the data obtained from the Pew Research Center, a two-parent family has significantly decreased from 87 percent in 1960 to 69 percent in 2014. The number of single parents has increased from 4 percent in 1960 to 26 percent in 2014. A family that doesn’t have a father or mother is not complete especially if the status is as a result of circumstances other than the natural ones such as the death of a parent. Most of the single parent families are as a result of divorce while in others, women who have never married have children out of wedlock prompting them to be single parents.

Men are perceived by society as the providers to their families while women are left at home to perform their basic chores such as looking after the children. However, the construct has slowly diminished with the roles of both men and women being reversed. There is a rising number of stay at home dads and according to the data obtained from Pew Research Center indicate that the number of fathers living with children younger than 18 years who do not work outside their home has increased from 1.1 million in 1989 to 2 million in 2012. However, women in the labor force with children has generally increased for all ages with those with children under the age of three years increasing from 34 percent in 1975 to 61 percent in 2014, under 6 years from 39%-64% and under 18 years from 47%-70%. According to this, most women appear to the breadwinners and thus a large number of them go to seek employment. Men, on the other hand, stay at home with children, completely destroying society’s expectations for family gender roles.

The percentage of all births that were to unmarried women by race and Hispanic has continued to increase. Women were not expected to have children out of wedlock but the trend has been reverted over the decades. For the non-Hispanic blacks, the percentage of unmarried women giving births rose from 57.2 percent from the year 1980 to 71.5 percent in 2103, the non-Hispanic whites rose from 9.5%-29.3%, that of the Hispanics rose from 23.6%-53.2% while the total number of unmarried women with children rose from 5.3% in 1960 to 40.6% in 2013 (Child Trends Databank). The data completely indicate a change in the family structure. The public support for same-sex marriage in the United States has been on the rise and this is an indication that in a family a man doesn’t have to marry a woman as according to religion. The family structure has changed as those favoring marriages of the same sex has increased from 37% in 2007 to 62% in 2017 (Pew Research Center), while those in opposition decreased from 54% to 32%, an indication that the family structure in the United States has changed to worse than ever.

Works Cited

Source: “Child Trends/Databank Indicator/Families and Parenting.” Child Trends Databank, Accessed 4 Nov. 2016.

Source: “5 Facts About Same Sex Marriage.” Pew Research Center, 26 June 2017. Accessed 4 Aug. 2018.

Source: Growing Number of Dads Home with the Kids. Pew Research Center, 5 June 2014. Accessed 4 Aug. 2018.

Source: Parenting in America: Outlook, Worries, Aspirations Are Strongly Linked to Financial Situation. Pew Research Center, 17 Dec. 2015. Accessed 4 Nov. 2016.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Censuses, 1950 to 1990, and Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements, 1993 to 2017. Accessed 20 Feb. 2018.