In the News, Report

American Families are on divergent paths

Capture d’écran 2013-09-11 à 13.14.18After a period of relative calm during the 1990s, rapid changes in American families began anew during the 2000s, a new analysis suggests.

Young people delayed marriage longer than ever before, permanent singlehood increased, and divorce and remarriage continued to rise during the first decade of the century.

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But the most troubling finding, researchers say, may be how American families have taken divergent paths: White people, the educated and the economically secure have much more stable family situations than minorities, the uneducated and the poor.

“The state of American families has become increasingly polarized,” said Zhenchao Qian, author of the new study and professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

“Race and ethnicity, education, economics and immigration status are increasingly linked to how well families fare.”

5 Trends in American Families during the 2000s

In a new report for US2010, Ohio State University sociologist Zhenchao Qian examined data from the U.S. Census and other sources to find out what has been happening to American families since the turn of the century.  Some key findings include:

1. The surge in cohabitation ended.  The number of cohabiting couples grew from 400,000 in 1960 to 3.8 million in 2000.  But since then, rates of cohabitation have leveled off.  About 12 to 14 percent of never-married adults lived together with a partner in 2008-2010, essentially unchanged since 2000.

2.  People are delaying marriage longer than ever before.  The percentage of women aged 20 to 24 who have ever married declined from 31 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2008-2010.  For men, the percentage dropped from 21 to 11 percent.

3. Americans are increasingly jumping on the “marriage-go-round.” More Americans are going from marriage to divorce to remarriage, sometimes multiple times.  Among currently married men, those who are remarried increased from 17 percent in 1980 to 25 percent in 2008-2010.  The changes for women are similar.

4. American families are on divergent paths.  Minorities, the uneducated and the poor have seen their family situations become less stable during the 2000s when compared to whites, the educated and the economically secure.  During the past decade, African Americans had the lowest percentage ever married at every age group, highest proportion of permanent singlehood by ages 50 to 54, highest divorce-to-marriage ratios, and a larger share of remarriages.

5. Who are most likely to have “traditional” families in America?  Immigrants.  Regardless of education and race or ethnicity, immigrants tend to be married at a higher rate, are less likely to cohabit (except for Hispanics), and divorce and remarry at a lower percentage when compared with their U.S.-born counterparts.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at 

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via American Families Taking ‘Divergent Paths,’ Study Finds 


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