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Source: Quartz


Discuss . . .

Category: Data Analysis, Economy

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

16 Responses to “Changes in the American Family, 1970-2012”

  1. stonedwino says:

    Amazing..we are such a small minority? Married with children…

  2. rd says:

    Married couples, with or without children, have dropped from 70% to 49% of the households. Many of the remaining households will require a wage earner. It is not surprising that the labor force participation rate jumped from 60% to 67% in the same timeframe. The only surprise is that it didn’t go up more; possibly that is because the aging demographics will have more retirees without jobs.

  3. Robert M says:

    Looks like fear of commitment in the larger American community, period. Whether it is driven by lack of income or something else is the question

  4. Iamthe50percent says:

    There is a massive drop in married couples with children, but no corresponding rise in married couples without children. Is this due to a 50% drop in childbirths since 1970 or a massive rise in out of wedlock child births?

    • a2ricedgti says:

      Massive rise in out of wedlock child births. Unintended pregnancies are very common. Previously people got married just because they were pregnant but there is so little pressure to do so these days.

      I’m in the boat myself. My daughter will turn 2 during our honeymoon.

    • pekoe says:

      Why is this not mostly a single variable that was mostly manifested between 1970 and 1980—that is when the majority of boomers moved out of their parents house. Thus, a big spike in households without children with corresponding changes in the other categories because of the data presentation, because it is a zero sum game—data has to add up to 100%. Most demographic change in the US reflects the life-experiences of the boomers because 1/3 of the population was born between 1945-1965; as they move through life, everything changes with them.

  5. this type of Chart (especially) should be presented with a Chart of “Total government Spending (% of G (N/D) P)”, for concomitant Time Periods..

    People, then, may see what is meant by ‘The Nanny State’..

  6. Has anyone found good recent research that addresses the question of whether the changes in household composition can explain the ongoing decline in median household income?

    @rd – note that many of the increasingly numerous elderly households would qualify as “married without children” except that one spouse has passed away.

    @Iamthe50percent – I think the declining percentage of households “married with children” is partly reduced fertility rates as you say, but I also suspect it’s substantially due to population aging.

    If life expectancy is 66 years, of which 22 years are “being children”, 22 are “married with children” and 22 are “married without children” (kids grown up), then only 50% of “married” households would be “with children”. (Here we assume that everyone gets married and stays married.) However, if life expectancy rises to, say, 88 years, then 44 years are “married without children” and thus 66% of households would be “without children” while only 33% of households would be with children.

    • Iamthe50percent says:

      There is also a surprising number of “married with grandchildren” with grandpa/grandma paying the bills. If you talk openly about it, a lot of people will tell you privately that they are in the same boat and not just we blue collar people. The VP of the last company that I worked for was one of us. I’m glad i told him because he cut me a lot of slack on travel and overtime so that I could attend things.

  7. bear_in_mind says:

    Being a fan of studying American demographics, I was aware of these shifts but this is probably the best chart / graphic of the trend change that I’ve seen. The tectonic shift in familism from 1970 to 1980 is truly remarkable. Some of this reflects pent-up desire for divorce, which became far easier in the ’70′s with many, many states adopting “irreconcilable differences” statutes. This freed spouses from having to document infidelity or abuse as cause for divorce. And yet, it’s staggering to consider a 25 percent secular reduction in ‘married families with children’ occurring in a single decade.

  8. romerjt says:

    Stagnation in family income and income inequality in general are part of the picture painted in this chart. As you might expect, couples that cohabitate are more likely to break up than married couples get divorced (67% to 25%) thus creating many single-mom households. Add in the fact that marriage rates for the well educated have remained pretty stable since 1960 stable – about two thirds – while less than half of those with high school or less are married. So what we have is the growth of households headed by women with high school educations and decreases in family income and increases in income inequality.

  9. rj chicago says:

    This does not bode well for the demographic future of this nation and by extension its economy.

    • odnalro zeraus says:

      RJ chicago,
      Could the opposite also be said?
      Does the economy’s future bodes well for the demographic future?

  10. EIB says:

    Marriage is at it’s lowest level since 1970.
    Women today are less happy than in 1970.
    More men live alone than in 1970.

    Man are at their happiest levels since 1970.

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