Tags: Fox News | Family | single parent | children | Pew Research | traditional

Pew: Only 46 Percent of US Families Are 'Traditional'

By    |   Friday, 16 January 2015 11:41 AM

The image of the American family popularized on television programs like "Leave It to Beaver" doesn't reflect family life today, according to a recent survey.

The Pew Research Center reports that today less than half of American children under the age of 18 live in a home with two married parents.

Using data from the American Community Survey and the Census Bureau, the Pew analysis found that 46 percent of children under 18 live in households headed by two heterosexual parents in their first marriage, compared to 1960 when 73 percent of children fit that description, and in 1980, when 61 percent did.

"Rapid changes in American family structure have altered the image" of families, the researchers say. "While the old 'ideal' involved couples marrying young, then starting a family, and staying married till 'death do they part,' the family has become more complex, and less 'traditional.'"

The debate between the left and the right about the consequences of the breakdown of the traditional family continues, some believe the reason is quite clear.

"The major factor I think is the lack of stigma attached to it. And it seems to me for the individual you want to be humane, you want to be sympathetic, for the individual it's a good thing that there is no stigma. But collectively for society when the rate hits 41 percent it is a disaster for a society," said conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer Thursday night on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."

Krauthammer notes that contrary to conventional wisdom, the increase in single-parent families has risen among the white working class as well, but, he adds, society as a whole bears the disastrous consequences.

"But certainly, the removal of the stigma, the normalization of illegitimacy has been a catastrophe for society. And we're going to suffer the consequences," he said.

A new report by Child Trends confirms Krauthammer's assertion.

"Women who give birth outside of marriage tend to be more disadvantaged than their married counterparts, both before and after the birth. Unmarried mothers generally have lower incomes, lower education levels, and are more likely to be dependent on welfare assistance compared with married mothers.

"Women who have a nonmarital birth also tend to fare worse than childless single women," the report stated.

"The numbers that show that children raised by their two biological [or adoptive] parents do substantially better in every respect in life than those who are not. They do better in school and in higher education, they do better at jobs and economically, they develop more stable and lasting relationships personally," Michael Barone wrote recently in the National Review.

According to the Census Bureau, 66 percent of households in 2012 were family households, which represents a decline from 81 percent in 1970.

During that same time period, the proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points, from 17 percent to 27 percent.

The breakdown of the family structure has consequences on both the health and well-being of Americans, particularly women, reported Gallup last year.

According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, while women tend to experience more stress than men across all marital status groups, "there is a visibly pronounced stress gap by gender when one compares women who are separated to men who are separated."

The index found that the increase in stress among separated women compared with married women is about 55 percent higher than the stress levels reported by men in the same groups.

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The image of the American family popularized on television programs like "Leave It to Beaver" doesn't reflect family life today, according to a recent survey.
Family, single parent, children, Pew Research, traditional
Friday, 16 January 2015 11:41 AM
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