Family Typology of 21St Century
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The most striking change in family diversity over the past century has been in the growth of the various types of households. Even as recently as 1972, "Married, with Children" was the most common form of family in the United States, with fully 45% of households qualifying as such. More striking though is a glance at the decline in the family household as a defining structure of American society. In 1940, fully 90% of all households in the United States were family households. By 1960, the number of such households declined to 85%, dropping further to 74% by 1980 - and ending the century at 69%.
The Typology of Marriage
The drop in the percentage of such households led by a married couple is even more striking. In 1940, the Bureau of the Census found that 76% of all households self-identified as married-couple family households - fully 84% of all family households. This percentage declined to 74% by 1960, and then to 61% by 1980, ending the century at only 53%. Further, married-couple families now account for only 77% of all family households.
Currently, the most common types of household in the United States are:
- An unmarried couple without children (32% of all households).
- The second most common household, accounting for 30% of all households, consisted of a married couple with no children.
- Married couples with children were only the third most frequent, accounting for 26% of all households,
- Unmarried couples with no children accounting for the residual 12% - such households are referred to as cohabitation households.
Some of the diversity in the types of family households now common in the United States can be expressed by the following list of households today
- Breadwinner-homemaker families with children,
- Two-earner couples with children,
- Single-parent households with children,
- Marriages without children,
- Cohabiting couples with or without children,
- Blended families,
- Role-reversed marriages,
- Gay and lesbian couples with or without children.