For more information, see Family in the Infopedia.
Structure and Composition of Family
According to a November 2010 article from the Pew Research center, the last 50 years have given rise to a transformation of the structure and composition of the American family. According to the article: “The pre-iminent family unit of the mid-20th century – mom, dad, and the kids-no longer has the stage to itself. A verity of new arrangements have emerged, giving rise to a broader and evolving definition of what constitutes a family.”
This can be seen by looking at the data alone:
- In 1960, 72% of American Adults were married. By 2008, that number had fallen to 52.
- When asked in a survey if marriage is becoming obsolete, about four out of every ten Americans surveyed – some 39% – responded that it was. A similar survey conducted by Time magazine in 1978 found this number to be 28%.
- A 2010 Pew Research Survey found that 52% of Millennials (18-29 year-olds) consider parenthood very important, while only 30% say the same about having a successful marriage.
According to U.S. Census Data published in 2011:
- The United States led the world in marriage rates in 2008, but it also led the world in divorce rates.
- In 2008 there were over 10,536,000 single parent households in the United States, with around 30% of these households with children.
- The state of Nevada leads the country in divorce rates.
- Washington, DC has the least amount of divorces per 1,000 marriages in the country, followed closely by Massachusetts and Georgia.
A child in a single parent household is more likely to:
- Experience violence
- Continue a cycle of poverty
- Become drug dependent
- Commit a crime
- Perform below peers in education
Source: Center For Disease Control and Prevention 2014
For more information, see Foster Care in the Infopedia.
- On September 30, 2012, there were an estimated 399,546 children in foster care
- 28% were in relative homes,
- 47 % were in nonrelative foster family homes
- 53% had a case goal of reunification with their families.
- 51 percent of the children who left foster care in FY 2012 were to be reunited with their parents or primary caretakers
- 46 percent who left foster care in FY 2012 were in care for less than 1 year
For more information, see Pregnancy in the Infopedia.
- U.S. teen pregnancy and birth rates have declined dramatically over the past two decades and are now at historic lows
- The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the western industrialized world.
- Since its peak in 1991, the teen birth rate declined by 52%
- 3 in 10 teen American girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. That’s nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year.
- Parenthood is the leading reason that teen girls drop out of school.
- More than half of teen mothers never graduate from high school.
- Less than 2 percent of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30.
- About a quarter of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of their first baby.
- 8 out of 10 teen dads don’t marry the mother of their child.
- A sexually active teen who doesn’t use contraceptives has a 90 percent chance of becoming pregnant within a year.
- Almost 50 percent of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives.
- Teens had fewer babies in 2010 than in any year since the mid-1940s.
- If a teen gives birth and keeps the baby, she will be much more likely than other young women to:
- drop out of school;
- receive inadequate prenatal care;
- rely on public assistance to raise her child;
- develop health problems;
- have her marriage end in divorce.
- Children born to teenage mothers are more likely than children of older mothers to suffer significant disadvantages: medical, psychological, economic, and educational.
For more information, see Abortion in the Infopedia.
- Each year, one million American teenagers become pregnant, and 78% of these pregnancies are unintended.
- 17% of all U.S. abortions are from teenagers
- Of teenage women who become pregnant – 35% choose to have an abortion
For more information, see Divorce in the Infopedia.
- First marriages by women under age 18 are the most likely group to divorce.
- The divorce rates are quite high for this group.
- Recent studies have shown that the brains of teens and those in their early 20s are not fully mature, so to expect someone to make a lifelong commitment and be able to stick to it at this age is just not realistic.
Source: The Divorce Organizer and Planner by Brette Sember
For More Information
Center for Disease Control: Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States. Series Report 23, Number 22. 103pp.