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What is a Typical Family Today?
August 8, 2017
The surest route to breeding jealousy is to compare. Since jealousy comes from feeling 'less than' another, comparisons only fan the fires.
-Dorothy Corkville Briggs

"Pretty much everyone agrees that the era of the nuclear family, with a dad who went to work and the mom who stayed at home, has declined to the point of no return," asserts Belinda Luscombe in a Time magazine article. "The big question is: What is replacing it? Now a new study suggests that nothing is — or rather, that a whole grab bag of family arrangements are. More Americans are in families in which both parents work outside the home than in any other sort, but even so, that's still only about a third."

Luscombe describes the work of University of Maryland sociologist Philip Cohen, the author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change:

"He [Cohen] identifies the three biggest changes in family life in the past 50 years as the decline of marriage (in 2010, 45% of households were headed by a married couple, whereas in 1960 it was close to 66%); the rise of the number of women in the paid workforce; and the whole stew of blended, remarried and co-habiting families. Families headed by single moms‚ whether divorced, widowed or never married, are now almost as numerous as families that have a stay-at-home mom and a breadwinner dad — about 22% and 23%, respectively. There's been a marked rise in people living alone and in unrelated people living together."

Source: "There is No Longer Any Such Thing as a Typical Family," by Belinda Luscombe, Time, September 3, 2014.

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Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
Francis Wardle
Denver, CO, United States
08/08/2017 11:10 am

Two major changes are missed (intentionally, i believe) by this piece, 1) an increase in the number of families where the man either stays home and cares for the kids, or at least is the secondary bread winner, and 2) an increase in multiracial and multi-ethnic families.

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