The Social History of the American Family: An Encyclopedia


Edited by: Marilyn J. Coleman & Lawrence H. Ganong

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      List of Articles

      Reader's Guide

      About the Editors

      Marilyn J. Coleman, Ed.D., is a Curators' Professor Emerita of human development and family studies at the University of Missouri (MU). Her research interests are primarily postdivorce relationships, especially remarriage and stepfamily relationships. She has coauthored eight books and has published well over 175 journal articles and book chapters. Coleman has won numerous national and campus awards for teaching, research, and service, including the First Annual MU Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, MU Alumnae Anniversary Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Education of Women, the UMC Faculty/Alumni Award, Lifetime Contribution Award by the Stepfamily Association of America, the Kansas State University Distinguished Service Award, Fellow of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), and the NCFR Felix Berardo Mentoring Award.

      Lawrence H. Ganong, Ph.D., is a professor and co-chair of human development and family studies and a professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri. He has coauthored over 200 articles and book chapters as well as seven books, including Stepfamily Relationships (2004), Handbook of Contemporary Families (2004) with Marilyn Coleman, and Family Life in 20th Century America (2007), with Coleman and Kelly Warzinik. His primary research program has focused on postdivorce families, especially stepfamilies, and he is particularly interested in understanding how family members develop satisfying and effective relationships after structural transitions. Ganong earned a B.A. from Washburn University, master's degrees from Kansas State University and the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

      List of Contributors

      • Jenna Stephenson Abetz

        University of Nebraska, Lincoln

      • Ann-Marie Adams

        Fairfield University

      • St. Clair P. Alexander

        Loma Linda University

      • Zahra Alghafli

        Louisiana State University

      • Katherine R. (Russell) Allen

        Virginia Tech University

      • Kawika Allen

        Brigham Young University

      • Carter Anderson

        Western Washington University

      • Hanne Odlund Andersen

        Independent Scholars

      • Y. Gavriel Ansara

        University of Surrey

      • Joanne Ardovini

        Metropolitan College of New York

      • Stepanie Armes

        University of Kentucky

      • Veronica I. Arreola

        University of Illinois at Chicago

      • Tiffany Ashton

        American University

      • Chris Babits

        Teachers College, Columbia University

      • Deborah Bailey

        Central Michigan University

      • Chasity Bailey-Fakhoury

        Grand Valley State University

      • John Barnhill

        Independent Scholar

      • Rebecca Barrett-Fox

        Arkansas State University

      • Katie Marie Barrow

        Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

      • Juandrea Bates

        University of Texas at Austin

      • Deborah L. Bauer

        University of Central Florida

      • Suzanne K. Becking

        Fort Hays State University

      • Jayne R. Beilke

        Ball State University

      • Rachel T. Beldner

        University of Wisconsin–Madison

      • Marcia Malone Bell

        University of Kentucky

      • Jacquelyn J. Benson

        University of Missouri

      • Mark J. Benson

        Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

      • Israel Berger

        University of Sydney

      • James J. Berry

        University of Evansville

      • Amber Blair

        Georgia Southern University

      • M. Blake Berryhill

        Kansas State University

      • Kristyn Blackburn

        University of Kentucky

      • Daniel Blaeuer

        Florida International University

      • Sarah Jane Blithe

        University of Nevada, Reno

      • Hannah B. Bloyd-Peshkin

        Knox College

      • Christopher J. Blythe

        Florida State University

      • Derek M. Bolen

        Angelo State University

      • Stephanie E. Bor

        University of Utah

      • Sarah E. Boslaugh

        Kennesaw State University

      • Ronda L. Bowen

        Independent Scholar

      • Jill R. Bowers

        University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      • Odette Boya Resta

        Johns Hopkins University

      • Kay Bradford

        Utah State University

      • Dawn O. Braithwaite

        University of Nebraska–Lincoln

      • Shannon Brenneman

        Michigan State University

      • Melanie E. Brewster

        Teachers College, Columbia University

      • Bob Britten

        West Virginia University

      • Greg Brooks

        University of Missouri

      • Edna Brown

        University of Connecticut

      • Carol J. Bruess

        University of St. Thomas

      • Maysa Budri

        Texas Woman's University

      • Kelly Campbell

        California State University, San Bernardino

      • Gustavo Carlo

        University of Missouri–Columbia

      • Bret E. Carroll

        California State University, Stanislaus

      • Alexandra Carter

        University of California, Los Angeles

      • J. A. Carter

        University of Cincinnati

      • Shannon Casey

        Alliant International University

      • Kimberly Eberhardt Casteline

        Fordham University

      • Raúl Medina Centeno

        University of Guadalajara

      • Edward Chamberlain

        University of Washington, Tacoma

      • Yiting Chang

        University of Vermont

      • Ashton Chapman

        University of Missouri–Columbia

      • Charles Cheesebrough

        National Council on Family Relations

      • Gaowei Chen

        University of Hong Kong

      • Emily R. Cheney

        Independent Scholar

      • Laura Chilberg

        Black Hills State University

      • Ming Ming Chiu

        State University of New York, Buffalo

      • Amy M. Claridge

        Florida State University

      • Pamela Clark

        University of Southern Mississippi

      • Crystal Renee Clarke

        Loma Linda University

      • Beverly Ann G. Clemons

        Loma Linda University

      • Susan Cody-Rydzewski

        Georgia Perimeter College

      • Amanda Coggeshall

        University of Missouri

      • Jessica A. Cohen

        St. Mary's University

      • Aaron Samuel Cohn

        Saint Louis University

      • Colleen Colaner

        University of Missouri

      • Danielle Colborn

        Stanford University

      • Lynn Comerford

        California State University, East Bay

      • Luis Diego Conejo

        University of Missouri

      • Stacy Conner

        Kansas State University

      • Stephen A. Conrad

        Indiana University

      • Morgan E. Cooley

        Florida State University

      • Bruce Covey

        Central Michigan University

      • Carolyn Cowan

        University of California, Berkeley

      • Philip Cowan

        University of California, Berkeley

      • John Crouch

        Independent Scholar

      • Annamaria Csizmadia

        University of Connecticut

      • Ming Cui

        Florida State University

      • Sarah Curtiss

        University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      • Kathy DeOrnellas

        Texas Woman's University

      • James I. Deutsch

        Smithsonian Institution

      • David J. Diamond

        Alliant International University

      • Evan Emmett Diehnelt

        University of Wisconsin–Madison

      • Heather Dillaway

        Wayne State University

      • Diana C. Direiter

        Lesley University

      • David C. Dollahite

        Brigham Young University

      • Karen L. Doneker

        Mancini Towson University

      • Brigitte Dooley

        University of Kentucky

      • Marina Dorian

        Alliant International University

      • Allyson Drinkard

        Kent State University at Stark

      • Len Drinkard

        U.S. Department of Labor

      • Donna Duffy

        University of North Carolina, Greensboro

      • Melanie L. Duncan

        University of Florida

      • Jillian M. Duquaine-Watson

        University of Texas at Dallas

      • Benedetta Duramy

        Golden Gate University School of Law

      • Meredith Eliassen

        San Francisco State University

      • Kathleen L. Endres

        University of Akron

      • Ashley Ermer

        University of Missouri

      • Caitlin Faas

        Mount St. Mary's University

      • Raúl Fernández-Calienes

        St. Thomas University School of Law

      • Isabella Ferrari

        University of Modena and Reggio Emilia

      • Andrea M. Ferraro

        University of Akron

      • Anthony Ferraro

        Florida State University

      • Jessica Fish

        Florida State University

      • Joel Fishman

        Duquesne University

      • Jacki Fitzpatrick

        Texas Tech University

      • Ana G. Flores

        Our Lady of the Lake University

      • David Frederick

        Chapman University

      • Laura M. Frey

        University of Kentucky

      • Caren J. Frost

        University of Utah

      • Dixie Gabalis

        Central Michigan University

      • Kathleen M. Galvin

        Northwestern University

      • Cayo Gamber

        George Washington University

      • Chelsea L. Garneau

        Florida State University

      • Stephen M. Gavazzi

        Ohio State University

      • Rebecca L. Geiger

        California University of Pennsylvania

      • Deborah Barnes Gentry

        Heartland Community College

      • Michael D. Gillespie

        Eastern Illinois University

      • Nerissa Gillum

        Texas Woman's University

      • Betty J. Glass

        University of Nevada, Reno

      • Abbie E. Goldberg

        Clark University

      • Judith G. Gonyea

        Boston University

      • Mellissa S. Gordon

        University of Delaware

      • Loranel M. Graham

        Our Lady of the Lake University

      • Heath A. Grames

        University of Southern Mississippi

      • Helena Danielle Green

        University of Connecticut

      • Glenda Griffin

        Sam Houston State University

      • Hagai Gringarten

        St. Thomas University

      • Brenda J. Guerrero

        Our Lady of the Lake University

      • Linda Halgunseth

        University of Connecticut

      • Kristin Haltinner

        University of Idaho

      • Robert L. Hampel

        University of Delaware

      • Jason D. Hans

        University of Kentucky

      • Myrna A. Hant

        University of California, Los Angeles

      • Brent Harger

        Albright College

      • Victor Harris

        University of Florida

      • Joy L. Hart

        University of Louisville

      • Jaimee Hartenstein

        Kansas State University

      • Nicholas Daniel Hartlep

        Illinois State University

      • Ralph Hartsock

        University of North Texas

      • Trevan G. Hatch

        Louisiana State University

      • Cynthia Hawkins DeBose

        Stetson University College of Law

      • Francis Frederck Hawley

        Western Carolina University

      • Amber Nichole Hearn

        Loma Linda University

      • Lauren Heiman

        Texas Woman's University

      • Keri L. Heitner

        University of the Rockies

      • Jason A. Helfer

        Knox College

      • Jennifer C. Helgren

        University of the Pacific

      • Jacqueline Henke

        Arkansas State University

      • Kelsey Henke

        University of Pittsburgh

      • Rosanna Hertz

        Wellesley College

      • W. Jeff Hinton

        University of Southern Mississippi

      • Donna Hancock Hoskins

        Bridgewater College

      • Claire Houston

        Harvard University

      • Robert Hughes, Jr.

        University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      • Andrea N. Hunt

        University of North Alabama

      • Shann Hwa Hwang

        Texas Woman's University

      • Masako Ishii-Kuntz

        Ochanomizu University

      • Anthony G. James

        Miami University of Ohio

      • Juyoung Jang

        University of Minnesota

      • J. Jacob Jenkins

        California State University, Channel Islands

      • Michael Johnson

        Washington State University

      • Glenda Jones

        Sam Houston State University

      • Janice Elizabeth Jones

        Cardinal Stritch University

      • Mark S. Joy

        University of Jamestown

      • Michael Kalinowski

        University of New Hampshire

      • Nazneen Kane

        College of Mount St. Joseph

      • Debra Kawahara

        Alliant International University

      • Spencer D. C. Keralis

        University of North Texas

      • Charissa Keup

        Independent Scholar

      • Shenila Khoja-Moolji

        Teachers College, Columbia University

      • Timothy S. Killian

        University of Askansas

      • Claire Kimberly

        University of Southern Mississippi

      • Lori A. Kinkler

        Clark University

      • Christopher Kline

        Westmoreland County Community College

      • Nicholas Koberstein

        University of Connecticut

      • Patrick Koetzle

        Georgetown University Law Center

      • Erin Kostina-Ritchey

        Texas Tech Unviersity

      • Jonathan M. Kremser

        Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

      • Bill Kte'pi

        Independent Scholar

      • Arielle Kuperberg

        University of North Carolina at Greensboro

      • Cornelia C. Lambert

        University of Oklahoma

      • Katherine Landry

        Sam Houston State University

      • John J. Laukaitis

        North Park University

      • Marcie Lechtenberg

        Kansas State University

      • Andrew M. Ledbetter

        Texas Christian University

      • Jessica Marie Lemke

        Niagara University

      • Melinda A. Lemke

        University of Texas at Austin

      • Lara Lengel

        Bowling Green State University

      • Ashlie Lester

        University of Missouri

      • Xiaohui Li

        University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

      • Jennie Lightweis-Goff

        Tulane University

      • Theresa Nicole Lindsay

        Texas Woman's University

      • Hui Liu

        Michigan State University

      • Sally A. Lloyd

        Miami University, Ohio

      • Kim Lorber

        Ramapo College of New Jersey

      • Gordon E. MacKinnon

        Rochester College

      • Flor Leos Madero

        Angelo State University

      • Sarah E. Malik

        University of Evansville

      • Marie L Mallet

        Harvard University

      • Louis Manfra

        University of Missouri

      • Melinda Stafford Markham

        Kansas State University Salina

      • Loren D. Marks

        Louisiana State University

      • Michelle Martinez

        Sam Houston State University

      • Erynn Masi de Casanova

        University of Cincinnati

      • Chalandra Matrice

        Bryant University of Georgia

      • Greg Matthews

        Washington State University

      • Mahshid Mayar

        Bielefeld University

      • Graham McCaulley

        University of Missouri

      • Marta McClintock-Comeaux

        California University of Pennsylvania

      • Melina McConatha Rosle

        West Chester University of Pennsylvania

      • Samira Mehta

        Emory University

      • Kelly Melekis

        University of Vermont

      • Dixie Meyer

        Saint Louis University

      • Monika Myers

        Arkansas State University

      • Katharina Miko

        Vienna University of Economics

      • Douglas Milford

        University of Illinois at Chicago

      • Michelle Millard

        Wayne State University

      • Margaret Miller

        Independent Scholar

      • Monica Miller-Smith

        University of Connecticut

      • Cory Mills-Dick

        Goddard Riverside Community Center, New York

      • Elissa Thomann Mitchell

        University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      • Sarah Mitchell

        University of Missouri

      • Kelly Monaghan

        University of Florida

      • Julia Moore

        University of Nebraska-Lincoln

      • Mel Moore

        University of Northern Colorado

      • Martha L. Morgan

        Alliant International University

      • Danai S. Mupotsa

        University of the Witwatersrand

      • Felicia Murray

        Texas Woman's University

      • Lorenda A. Naylor

        University of Baltimore

      • Margaret Nelson

        Middlebury College

      • Tara Newman

        Stephen F. Austin State University

      • Tim Oblad

        Texas Tech University

      • D. Lynn O'Brien Hallstein

        Boston University

      • C. Rebecca Oldham

        Texas Tech University

      • Winetta A. Oloo

        Loma Linda University

      • Yok-Fong Paat

        University of Texas at El Paso

      • Shari Paige

        Chapman University

      • Kay Pasley

        Florida State University

      • Michael Pawlikowski

        State University of New York, Buffalo

      • Kelley J. Perkins

        University of Delaware

      • Raymond E. Petren

        Florida State University

      • Sarah L. Pierotti

        University of Missouri

      • Elizabeth M. Pippert

        Independent Scholar

      • Jennifer Burkett Pittman

        Ouachita Baptist University

      • Mari Plikuhn

        University of Evansville

      • Tyler Plogher

        University of Evansville

      • Scott W. Plunkett

        California State University Northridge

      • Pedro R. Portes

        University of Georgia

      • Danielle Poynter

        University of Missouri

      • Amber M. Preston

        California University of Pennsylvania

      • Daniel J. Puhlman

        Florida State University

      • Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy

        Independent Scholar

      • Janice Kay Purk

        Mansfield University

      • Karen D. Pyke

        University of California, Riverside

      • Helénè Quanquin

        Université Sorbonne Nouvelle

      • Mark R. Rank

        Washington University, St. Louis

      • Alan Reifman

        Texas Tech University

      • Jennifer S. Reinke

        University of Wisconsin–Stout

      • Jon Reyhner

        Northern Arizona University

      • Gabriella Reznowski

        Washington State University

      • Wylene Rholetter

        Auburn University

      • Jason Ribner

        Alliant International University

      • Neil Ribner

        Alliant International University

      • Amanda J. Rich

        York College of Pennsylvania

      • Michele Hinton Riley

        St. Joseph's College of Maine

      • Barbara J. Risman

        University of Illinois at Chicago

      • Rebecca Ruitto

        University of Connecticut

      • Amanda Rivas

        Our Lady of the Lake University

      • Andrea Roach

        University of Missouri

      • Daelynn R. Roach

        California University of Pennsylvania

      • Kelly M. Roberts

        Oklahoma State University

      • Dianna Rodriguez

        Rutgers University

      • David J. Roof

        Ball State University

      • Joy Rose

        Museum of Motherhood

      • Lisa H. Rosen

        Texas Woman's University

      • Ariella Rotramel

        Connecticut College

      • Brian Rouleau

        Texas A&M University

      • Elisabetta Ruspini

        University of Milano-Bicocca

      • Luke T. Russell

        University of Missouri

      • Elizabeth Ryznar

        Harvard Medical School

      • Margaret Ryznar

        Indiana University

      • Robin C. Sager

        University of Evansville

      • Erin Sahlstein

        Parcell University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

      • Stephanie Salerno

        Bowling Green State University

      • Karin Sardadvar

        FORBA–Working Life Research Centre, Vienna

      • Megha Sardana

        Columbia University

      • Antoinette W. Satterfield

        U.S. Naval Academy

      • Julia Sattler

        Technical University of Dortmund

      • Jacob Sawyer

        Teachers College, Columbia University

      • Hans C. Schmidt

        Pennsylvania State University–Brandywine

      • Maria K. Schmidt

        Indiana University, Bloomington

      • Sarah Schmitt-Wilson

        Montana State University

      • David G. Schramm

        University of Missouri

      • Stephen T. Schroth

        Knox College

      • Michaela Schulze

        Universität Siegen

      • Shannon Scott

        Texas Woman's University

      • Kelli Shapiro

        Texas State University

      • Constance L. Shehan

        University of Florida

      • Karen Shephard

        University of Pittsburgh

      • Aya Shigeto

        Nova Southeastern University

      • Morgan Shipley

        Michigan State University

      • Sara Denise Shreve

        University of Iowa

      • Julie Ahmad Siddique

        William Paterson University

      • Leslie Gordon Simons

        Arizona State University

      • Deborah M. Sims

        University of Southern California

      • Christina A. Simmons

        University of Georgia

      • Skultip Sirikantraporn

        Alliant International University

      • Brent C. Sleasman

        Gannon University

      • Kristy L. Slominski

        University of California, Santa Barbara

      • Malcolm Smith

        University of New Hampshire

      • Christy Jo Snider

        Berry College

      • Catherine Solheim

        University of Minnesota at Twin Cities

      • Christina Squires

        University of Missouri

      • Wade Stewart

        Utah State University

      • Sandra Stith

        Kansas State University

      • Jason Stohler

        University of California, Santa Barbara

      • Lisa Strohschein

        University of Alberta

      • Katherine Scott Sturdevant

        Pikes Peak Community College

      • Omar Swartz

        University of Colorado, Denver

      • Sarah L. Swedberg

        Colorado Mesa University

      • Marilyn E. Swisher

        University of Florida

      • Whitney Szmodis

        Lehigh University

      • Aileen Tareg

        Yap Comprehensive Cancer Program

      • Ken B. Taylor

        New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

      • Jay Teachman

        Western Washington University

      • Lucky Tedrow

        Western Washington University

      • Alice K. Thomas

        Howard University

      • Joel Touchet

        University of Lousiana

      • Juliana Maria D. Trammel

        Savannah State University

      • Bahira Sherif Trask

        University of Delaware

      • Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo

        Texas Tech University

      • Jessica Troilo

        West Virginia University

      • Kristin Turney

        University of California, Irvine

      • Kourtney T. Vaillancourt

        New Mexico State University

      • Zach Valdes

        Sam Houston State University

      • Kristen Van Ness

        University of Connecticut

      • Chris Vanderwees

        Carleton University

      • H. Luis Vargas

        University of the Rockies

      • Esperanza Vargas Jiménez

        University of Guadalajara

      • Michael Voltaire

        Nova Southeastern University

      • Kimberly Voss

        University of Central Florida

      • John Walsh

        Shinawatra University

      • Yuanxin Wang

        Temple University

      • Kelly A. Warzinik

        University of Missouri

      • Shannon E. Weaver

        University of Connecticut

      • Lynne M. Webb

        Florida International University

      • Kip A. Wedel

        Bethel College

      • Adele Weiner

        Metropolitan College of New York

      • Robert S. Weisskirch

        California State University, Monterey Bay

      • Brenda Wilhelm

        Colorado Mesa University

      • Keira Williams

        Texas Tech University

      • Samantha Williams

        California State University, Stanislaus

      • Bethany Willis Hepp

        Towson University

      • Michael Wilson

        Arkansas State University

      • Laura Winn

        Florida Atlantic University

      • Rachel Winslow

        Westmont College

      • Cindy Winter

        National Council on Family Relations

      • Armeda Wojciak

        Florida State University

      • Rachel Lee Wright

        Eastern Washington University

      • Deniz Yucel William

        Paterson University of New Jersey

      • Hye-Jung Yun

        Florida State University

      • James M. Zubatsky

        University of Minnesota

      • Andrew Zumwalt

        Univeristy of Missouri

      • Anisa Zvonkovic

        Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


      Over the past few years there have been rousing debates among social critics and cultural commentators about the status of the American family and its future. On one side of this debate are those claiming the American family is in decline. These critics point to demographic statistics regarding increased rates of unmarried parenthood, divorce, cohabitation, and lowered rates of marriage and births to married parents as evidence that families are in trouble. Technological changes that allow infertile individuals and couples to rear children, policy changes that permit gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, and societal shifts in gender role expectations for mothers and fathers are also decried by some social commentators as signs of family decline and deviance.

      On the other side of the debate are those who argue that these transitions do not mean that American families are troubled and headed for a bleak future. Instead, they assert that families are doing relatively well and that it is a narrow and static view of family life that is in decline and not families themselves. These observers see family diversity rather than deviance, and family adaptation rather than decay. Twenty-first-century families are more diverse than families in the past, the argument goes, because the world is more complex, and family members have had to adapt to their changing social environments. Moreover, families have always been more diverse than cultural ideologies have portrayed; the Standard North American Family (SNAF), a self-contained nuclear family consisting of a mother who takes care of the children and the home, a father who works outside the home as the major or only breadwinner, and one or more children sharing a household, has always been part of American social history, but this family form has not, in contrast to some cultural stereotypes, been the only American family form. The SNAF is both heterosexual and patriarchal in nature and produces stigma and marginalization of those in other family types—and yet other family types are multiplying rapidly and flourishing. It seems like a good time to examine the social history of the family: Where have we been? Where are we now?

      In fact, the nuclear family has not always been the dominant family structure in U.S. history. Prior to the 20th century, households were not only places to live—they were places in which the family “business” was conducted. Households often contained more than one generation, and it was not uncommon for unrelated individuals such as household servants, other workers, apprentices, and boarders to live with families. Living quarters were cramped and privacy was limited. It has only been in the past 100 years or so that most family households became private enclaves of related individuals. During the same period, family members' employment increasingly moved outside the household, and homes became centers of family life, with work, leisure, and other activities conducted elsewhere.

      At the root of the debate about the present and future status of American families is poor understanding about how families have functioned in the past. It is hard to determine whether families are declining, holding their own, or thriving without an understanding of what families and family life was like in the past. Families have changed, but how have they changed, and why? The purpose of this encyclopedia, The Social History of the American Family: An Encyclopedia, is to address these questions. In this volume, a diverse array of authors examine how families and family life have changed, paying attention not only to changes within families but also examining the social and historical contexts for those changes. Families do not exist in a vacuum, and historical and social phenomena have influenced families just as they have been affected by families. As editors of this encyclopedia, we have attempted to include aspects of the social history of American families that have the greatest relevance for understanding how families and family members have been shaped over time.

      American families have been affected by (a) demographic and population shifts; (b) changes in the economy, work, and leisure; (c) educational, cultural, and social movements; (d) advances in technology and science; (e) “great” events such as wars; and (f) evolving societal norms. In this encyclopedia we have tried to be exhaustively inclusive about all of these contextual factors as they have related to family functioning.

      Families in turn have affected American society and its many social institutions. As a fundamental unit of society, families exert powerful influences on virtually every aspect of the culture. Consequently, we have tried to comprehensively include encyclopedia entries that reflect these family impacts on society. In this volume, we have attempted to help readers get a sense of the profound societal and familial changes that have occurred in the nearly 400 years that an American culture has existed. For instance, if an American family from 1700 could be transported in a time machine to the present, they would be amazed at the differences in how family members spend their days now compared to the colonial era. They would be stunned to see everyone leave the family home to go to work or school because in their day, work, school, and home were in the same place. The technology available to present-day families would shock colonial Americans. They might envy the ease with which meals are prepared and be fascinated by the media links to the rest of the world via television, personal computers, smartphones, and other gizmos that would likely seem magical to them. On the other hand, they might be surprised at how little time present-day family members spend together, with work, school, and even electronic gadgets separating family members from each other. Colonial Americans might be surprised to find many household chores (e.g., cooking, cleaning, making household repairs) being outsourced to professionals. These visitors from 1700 might quickly learn to like the ease of modern life, but they might also wonder why family members seem to be so stressed. These visitors from another time would need to know about the many things that have happened since their era to be able to understand why families in the 21st century function as they do. This encyclopedia would supply that information.

      Families Are Hard to Study

      Families are hard to study, whether one is studying how families are in the present or how families were in the past. One reason that families are difficult to study is because nearly everyone has a personal experience in a family unit or two (e.g., the one they grew up in and perhaps a family they formed as an adult), and nearly everyone has ideas about how other families live from personal observations (e.g., hanging out at the neighbor's house) or from media portrayals (e.g., families on television, in movies). In short, because families and images of families are common, it strikes people that there is little to be learned by the formal study of family life. Arlene Skolnick referred to this stance as “pluralistic ignorance”—we know a lot about one or two families and erroneously assume this makes us an expert on families in general. Scientists call this overgeneralizing from a nonrepresentative sample—as “naïve scientists,” most people “gather data” from their families of origin and perhaps other family units and draw conclusions about all families. Often people think that the way their families thought and felt and the ways their family members interacted with each other and with outsiders were how all families functioned. Consequently, students often see little point in studying families—what is there to learn that we don't already know?

      Another challenging aspect of studying families is that virtually every dimension of family life is value laden, and people tend to hold very strong values and beliefs about families. These personal values interfere with being able to examine family life thoroughly and clearly. Put another way, our “should's get in the way of the is's.” That is, our personal beliefs about what we think mothers, fathers, spouses, children, and other family members should be doing influences the methods by which evidence regarding these behaviors is gathered, analyzed, and interpreted. As the philosopher Ashley Brilliant once wrote, “Seeing is believing; I wouldn't have seen it if I didn't believe it.” Scientists refer to this as a bias toward hypothesis-confirming evidence—meaning that individuals see what they expect to see more easily than they see evidence that does not confirm preexisting biases, beliefs, or hypotheses.

      For instance, if a scholar strongly believed that married-couple families were the only effective type of families in which to raise children, he or she might seek to find evidence to support that belief and ignore, or at least downplay, other information that did not fit with this value stance. We do not suggest that most family scholars purposefully let their values shade or shape their conclusions. However, we are saying (this is a strongly held value of ours) that personal values affect (a) what gets studied in family scholarship, (b) the questions that are raised, (c) the data that are gathered, and (d) the interpretation of the data. Consequently, the study of families has a different emotional valence for most people than does, say, studying frog behavior or the history of transportation. We do not suggest that frog scholars and transportation historians do not hold intense passion and strong beliefs about their work, but we do suggest that the emotional values related to family study hit closer to home (pun intended) for most people, and most individuals seem to have vested interests in topics related to family life.

      One family value shared by many in the United States is the belief that family behavior is private. Because this value is widely held in our culture, this, too, makes the study of families challenging and difficult. Making family business off-limits to outsiders means that scholars have had a hard time getting at the unvarnished reality of what sociologist Erving Goffman termed “backstage behavior” in family life. Some subject matter is nearly impossible to observe directly, such as sexual behavior, and so scholars must rely on self-reports or other types of evidence, often from secondary sources. Other aspects of family life that are nearly impossible to investigate in vivo, such as marital decision making, force scientists to devise laboratory settings and self-report methods to try to capture as closely as possible what goes on in the privacy of family households. Because we value family privacy, there are limits to what can be asked of people because a lot of areas of family life are “none of your business” if you are an outsider—family members either lie or refuse to answer questions that are too personal and private.

      It is not hard to see how family privacy feeds into pluralistic ignorance—the tendency to overrely on our own family experiences to generalize about all families. However, it should be noted that there is also a privacy value within families—children rarely know all of the backstage behavior of their parents' relationship together, for instance, and parents are unaware of all that transpires between their children when they are not around. This also makes family study complicated.

      In addition, each family member experiences family life uniquely. Decades ago Jesse Bernard wrote a classic treatise in which she argued for the perspective that each marriage actually consisted of two marriages: his marriage and her marriage. Her point could be broadened to all of family life: every relationship in a family is viewed and experienced differently by each participant in that relationship. This makes family study a tricky endeavor because we must pay careful attention to who is being studied as we draw conclusions—mothers might share different truths about child rearing than fathers, and they both will likely see things in a different light than children. This may seem like common sense, but this point has often been ignored by researchers, who often have relied on women as family informants without recognizing that mothers and wives might have divergent views from fathers and husbands about issues such as marital power or child rearing.

      Not surprisingly, outsiders see a family through a dissimilar lens than family members do. Family members obviously have access to a lot more family information than outsiders do, but sometimes outsiders notice things that members of the family cannot because they are not members of the family rule system that dictates family behaviors and interactions that family members can and cannot attend to or even know about consciously. The divergence of insiders' and outsiders' views presents scholars with several dilemmas, such as what do the divergent views mean and how does one sort out the truth from multiple “truths.”

      All of these challenges to studying family life apply to examining the history of families as well as of current family dynamics. In addition, there is a belief, related to the ubiquitous nature of families and the often strongly held values about how families should function, that families are timeless. This perspective renders obsolete the historical analyses of families—what would be the point? Americans have been criticized as being uninterested in history in general. When families are the topic, the lack of interest by Americans may be due to the widespread belief that there are essential aspects of families that are unchanged over time. For example, the roles of fathers as primary breadwinners and mothers as primary parents are seen by many as inherent in the biology and psychology of men and women, and, as a result, are essentially unaltered across history.

      This “essentialist” position leads people to ignore the effects of economics, historical events, and sociocultural proceedings on families. It also ignores the ways in which family members react to external events (e.g., creating solutions to social and environmental problems) over time. Such external phenomena are not relevant because families and family roles are enduring and unchanging. This ignoring of social and historical contexts for families allows people to talk about “traditional” families and “traditional” family values without irony and without recognition of what is left out of this picture; such language implicitly insinuates that families are timeless, and that what we observe and believe to be true about families today is the way it always has been.

      This perspective of a timeless family life also ignores the diversity of family experiences, even within the same historical time period. When context is seen as irrelevant, then the racial, ethnic, and economic diversities of family experiences are overlooked. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons this contextual-free orientation to the study of families has been widespread over the years, so much of what we know about families in the United States has been based on white, middle-class families. This is a problem for a multicultural society in which there is a great deal of racial and ethnic diversity. Knowing about one segment of society does not necessarily mean that you can generalize findings to society as a whole. Capturing the diversity of families is a constant challenge to family researchers and is particularly acute for looking at families in the past because there may have been little interest in earlier periods in preserving evidence about certain minority groups.

      A final reason for why family study is so daunting has to do with how family scholarship is evaluated by the public. If family scholars report findings that reflect what a layperson believes to be true about families, they often are greeted with this response: “Of course you found this result—everyone knows that is true. You are just confirming commonsense wisdom.” On the other hand, if the results of family scholarship tweak conventional wisdom or refute what is widely believed to be true, different responses are likely. The most common reaction is disbelief: “No way! That is not how we did things in my family. This can't be correct.” Another frequent response when findings are at odds with an individual's firmly held values is “Those researchers are ideologues who have bent their evidence to show what they want to find. I don't believe these results because these researchers are [fill in the blank—liberals, conservatives, atheists].” We have seen college students and adults attending public lectures about families become visibly anxious and even angry when they are told the most simple, straightforward facts about families and family life (e.g., demographic data collected by the Census Bureau or other federal agencies) when those facts threaten their beliefs in some way. Once we were accused of “supporting” divorce because we shared divorce statistics with an audience as part of a talk on remarriage. It is easy to irritate people by studying families.

      In summary, families are hard to study because researchers have to (1) examine phenomena that are at once both extremely familiar and unknown and private; (2) explore topics about which people feel so strongly they are moved to emotional reactions with little provocation and yet are reluctant to share what they do with outsiders; (3) sort out often conflicting evidence from multiple family members; (4) make sense of divergent views between themselves and family members; (5) include external influences on family phenomena; (6) recognize the diversity of family experiences due to race, ethnicity, social class, and other social statuses; and (7) be cognizant of how changes over time in society affect family functioning. Studying families is complicated. Nuanced results are often unappreciated because they diverge from perceived truths and personal values.

      Families Are Important to Study

      Family study is fascinating, partly due to the challenges families present as a scholarly phenomenon. Approached with an open and questioning mind, it is easy to be surprised by what families really do (versus what we think they do or think they should do). If individuals can set aside the notion that we know all we need to know about families, and that families are all the same (except that maybe our own family is better or worse than most), then family scholarship can be eye-opening. Are family feelings, behaviors, and interactions timeless and unchanging? Or, have some dimensions of family life changed drastically over time while others dimensions of family life remain constant? What have been the major societal influences on families? How have families changed society? What can we learn about families of the present and future by studying the families of the past? We can think of many questions about changes and continuities in American families. We think the answers can help us to understand contemporary families better and potentially to aid in addressing future family problems.

      Given that this is a book about the history of American families, it should be clear that we are not going to ignore the historical context in which families live and work. In fact, changes and continuities in American families will be at the forefront of these encyclopedia entries. We also have attempted to include articles related to what is known about other contexts that affect families—racial, ethnic, social class, geographic, and other diversities are presented. We also have taken care not to present families as systems that only react to social and historical forces. Instead, entries examine the ways in which family members and families have proactively and strategically attempted to survive and thrive as they encountered such social factors as changes in the economy, wars, and shifting norms regarding men and women.

      We tried to keep writers' values as muted as possible. We tried to include entries that explain changes and continuities in families over the century. No doubt what we chose to include reflects in part our interests and values; other editors might have selected different family issues to explore, or they might have asked writers to cover the same issues in different ways.

      We are family social scientists with acute interests in and appreciation of history, but we are not historians. The entries in this encyclopedia were written by individuals from many academic disciplines, including, of course, history. It is likely that our interpretations of historians' scholarship is not the same as if we had shared their academic training—each discipline has its own peculiar epistemic values about research and the acquisition of knowledge.

      No doubt we share some of the scholarly values of family historians, but we also doubtlessly have been educated to sift through evidence using methods that historians would not employ, and we see things through the eyes of scholars who have spent most of their lives studying contemporary families, not families of the past. The reader will have to judge whether this is a strength or a weakness.

      Marilyn J.Coleman
      Lawrence H.Ganong, University of Missouri


      1631: A Massachusetts law prescribes the death penalty for adultery, which is defined as a man and a married woman engaging in sexual relations.

      1639: The first divorce is granted in colonial America, on the grounds of bigamy, at a time when divorce is available in England only through an act of Parliament.

      1660: The common punishments for adultery in New England include fines, public whippings, and the requirement to wear initials proclaiming oneself as an adulterer (as immortalized in Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter).

      1764: The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Davey v. Turner affirms the joint deed sale system of conveyance, which requires that the property a married woman brings into a marriage cannot be sold without her consent.

      1773: Massachusetts expands the grounds for divorce to include male, as well as female, adultery.

      1774: Mother Ann Lee, founder of the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, better known as the Shakers, moves to America. The Shakers, who practice celibacy and communal living, establish several colonies in the United States; they acquire new members by adopting orphans and by adult converts.

      1785: Pennsylvania passes a law allowing divorce on grounds that include desertion, adultery, and bigamy, and also allowing women to apply for separation on the grounds of misconduct and cruelty.

      1800: According to U.S. census records, the birthrate for white Americans is 55 per 1,000 population, a rate that will fall steadily throughout the century to 31.5 by 1890 and 30.1 by 1900.

      1800: The average family in the United States has 7 children, a number that will decline to 3.5 children by 1900.

      1800: Every New England state, as well as New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee, has a law allowing divorce, but the southern states do not.

      1803: The first divorce is granted in the state of Virginia, based on a wife's infidelity with a slave.

      1804: Ohio allows divorce on the grounds of desertion, bigamy, extreme cruelty, and adultery; by mid-century, the possible grounds are broadened to include drunkenness, gross neglect, and fraudulent contract.

      1821: Connecticut becomes the first U.S. state to pass legislation restricting abortion.

      1824: Indiana allows divorce on any grounds that a court finds reasonable and just; this relaxed standard makes Indiana a popular destination for people unable to get a divorce in their home state.

      ca. 1840: U.S. states begin overturning aspects of the feme covert principle and allow married women some rights (e.g., controlling their own property) previously denied them.

      1846: Founding of the Oneida Community in New York State, where complex marriage was practiced from 1846 to 1879; women and men belonging to the community were married not to an individual but to the entire group, and could change sexual partners at will.

      1848: At the Seneca Falls Convention in New York State, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott present their Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, stating their demands for women's equality in language modeled on the Declaration of Independence.

      1850: Life expectancy at birth in the United States is 40.4 years for white males, and 42.9 years for white females; by 1890, this increases only slightly, to 42.5 years for white males and 44.5 years for white females.

      1850: Founding of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, later the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, the first medical school founded specifically to train women as physicians.

      1851: Massachusetts passes the Adoption of Children Act, the first modern adoption law that prioritizes the interests of the child over those of adults.

      1852: The first day nursery is opened in New York City to care for the children of women who need to work to support their families.

      1853: Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree, founds the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children.

      1854: The first of the orphan trains, which continue until 1929 and transport a quarter of a million children from eastern states to the Midwest, the western United States, Canada, and Mexico; the orphan trains are initially organized by the New York Children's Aid Society and are intended to remove orphans and immigrant children from urban environments and place them with farming families.

      1860: Twenty U.S. states and territories have laws restricting abortion.

      1860: The U.S. census finds that 33,149 Chinese men live in the United States, but only 1,784 Chinese women. This gender imbalance encourages the development of systems of prostitution, and in 1860 an estimated 85 percent of Chinese women living in San Francisco are indentured servants. Many are coerced into prostitution.

      1861: The Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia begins accepting patients; it treats women and children, and also provides care through a dispensary and home visits.

      1862: The Homestead Act promotes migration to the western United States by allowing individuals and families to take possession of 160 acres of land upon payment of a small filing fee.

      1862: The Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act outlaws plural marriage in U.S. territories, a law clearly aimed at Mormons then settling in the Utah Territory.

      1865: A woman's right to maintain ownership and control of her property after marriage is recognized in 29 states.

      1868: Massachusetts begins “placing out” children, that is, paying for families to take care of orphan or foster children, with regular visits from a state official.

      1870: The rate of divorce in the United States is 1.5 per 1,000 marriages, a statistic that will rise to 4 in 1,000 by 1900.

      1870s: Feminists in the United States begin to advocate “voluntary motherhood,” including female control over both sexual activity and motherhood.

      1872: Formation of the New York State Charities Aid Association, one of the first child placement programs in the United States.

      1873: Passage of the Comstock Law, named after Anthony Comstock, which prohibits sending obscene materials, including information about birth control, through the U.S. mail.

      1874: The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is founded in New York City by Henry Bergh, Elbridge Gerry, and John D. Wright; it is the first child protective agency in the world.

      1876: The National Woman Suffrage Association presents the Declaration of Rights of Women on July 4, the U.S. centennial, in Philadelphia.

      ca. 1880: The term date becomes used in American English in the modern sense, as a social meeting between a man and a woman in a public place, with at least overtones of courtship; dating in this sense does not become common among the middle classes for several more decades.

      1882: Polygamy becomes a felony following passage of the Edmunds Act.

      1883: The British scientist Sir Francis Galton coins the term eugenics, meaning selective breeding to improve the human race; Galton is interested in applying the principle of natural selection, discussed in Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, to human beings.

      1890: The median age at first marriage in the United States is 22 years for females and 26 for males.

      1892: The International Kindergarten Union (IKU) is founded by Sarah Stewart to prepare an exhibit for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago and to promote kindergarten in the United States.

      1893: Lillian Wald and Mary Brewster found the Henry Street Settlement in New York City to provide home nursing care and improve living conditions for the poor; they later become involved in promoting educational and cultural opportunities as well.

      1898: In New York City, the St. Vincent de Paul Society establishes the Catholic Home Bureau to place children in homes rather than orphanages; other cities soon adopt this model as well.

      1900: According to U.S. census records, the birthrate for white Americans is 30.1 per 1,000 population; this rate will fall steadily across the decades to 18.6 per 1,000 in 1940, then increase to 23 per 1,000 in the baby boom following World War II.

      1900–02: Life expectancy at birth in the United States is 32.5 years for African American males and 35 years for African American females, much lower than for white males (48.2 years) and white females (44.5 years).

      1904: John Harvey Kellogg creates the Race Betterment Foundation in Michigan to promote the ideas of eugenics; just six years later, Benedict Davenport creates the Eugenics Records Office at Cold Spring Harbor in New York State.

      1907: Indiana becomes the first U.S. state to pass an involuntary sterilization law, aimed at “undesirables” such as the mentally retarded, insane, and sex offenders; by 1935, 26 states will pass similar laws.

      1909: Evelyn Key publishes The Century of the Child, arguing that women have a particular gift for working with children and also popularizing modern child-rearing practices.

      1912: Congress establishes the U.S. Children's Bureau, which plays a key role in developing adoption regulations, as well as conducting campaigns against child labor and to reduce infant mortality; it is also the first federal agency to be headed by a woman, Julia Lathrop.

      1915: The maternal mortality rate in the United States is 607.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, a rate that will be reduced to 12.7 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2007.

      1917: Margaret Sanger founds the Birth Control Review, a publication promoting the use of birth control; it continues publication until 1940.

      1917: Minnesota passes a law mandating that adoption records be kept confidential; most other states also adopt this practice by the 1940s.

      1921: In New York City, Margaret Sanger founds the American Birth Control League (ABCL) during the first American Birth Control Conference; the ABCL quickly becomes the largest birth control organization in the United States and works to make birth control available to women who want it.

      1921: The Child Welfare League of America is founded as a federation of about 70 organizations providing services to children.

      1923: Margaret Sanger founds the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau (BCCRB) in New York City, a clinic run by physicians and providing a wide range of services, including marriage counseling, birth control, and gynecological exams.

      1925: The diaphragm, a barrier method of birth control, begins to be manufactured in the United States.

      1932: Nevada law allows an individual to qualify as a state resident after six weeks, at which time he/she becomes eligible to file for divorce under the relatively liberal laws of the state. Because divorce is still difficult to obtain in many U.S. states, “divorce tourism” becomes popular, as many temporarily move to Nevada specifically for the purpose of gaining a divorce.

      1935: Passage of the federal Social Security Act; Title V of this act includes a program of block grants from the federal government to the states to improve maternal and child health.

      1935: Infant mortality in the United States is 55.7 per 1,000 live births, a rate that will decrease to 6.8 per 1,000 by 2007. However, African American infants have a higher rate of mortality, and a slower decline, than white infants: in 1935, the infant mortality rate for African Americans is 81.9 per 1,000, which declines to 13.2 per 1,000 by 2007, an average annual decrease of 2.6 percent; in contrast, the white infant mortality rate is 51.9 per 1,000 in 1935 and 5.6 per 1,000 in 2007, an average decline of 3.2 percent per year.

      1937: The American Medical Association endorses the use of birth control, and North Carolina becomes the first U.S. state to provide birth control through a public health program.

      1938: In Philadelphia, Marian Stubbs Thomas and a group of African American women found Jack & Jill of America, a social organization intended to provide a way for middle-class African American children to socialize with each other at a time when they are not allowed to socialize with white children of similar social standing.

      1939: Sophie van Senden Theis, who previously published the first major outcome study in adoption, publishes The Chosen Baby, a book intended to help adoptive parents explain adoption to their children.

      1939: E. Franklin Frazier, an African American sociologist, publishes The Negro Family in the United States, arguing that the heritage of slavery is a cause of what he sees as the current disordered state of African American families (e.g., poverty, absent fatherhood).

      1942: The federal government establishes the Lanham Day Care Centers in 42 states in order to care for the children of women working in war industries; the centers are closed in 1946.

      1946: A group of African American women in Philadelphia found The Links, Inc., a social and civil rights organization focused on providing opportunities for African American families and young people, and cooperating with other civil rights organizations.

      1946: Dr. Benjamin Spock publishes Baby and Child Care, heavily influencing norms of mothering and child rearing in the United States. One of Spock's opinions, as expressed in this book, is the belief that women should organize their lives around their children.

      1948: Alfred Kinsey and colleagues publish Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, the first “Kinsey Report,” based on extensive interviews with American men; it reveals that the actual sexual behavior of men, including married men, is far different from the ideal of monogamy, and that a surprising proportion of men who consider themselves heterosexual have also had homosexual experiences in adulthood.

      1952–53: Television star Lucille Ball continues acting in I Love Lucy while pregnant; though not the first television story line to include a pregnancy (which is referred to on the show only by euphemisms), it is notable because of the popularity of I Love Lucy.

      1953: Alfred Kinsey and colleagues publish Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, the second “Kinsey Report,” based on extensive interviews with American women; among the revelations is that large proportions of women have had adulterous affairs, and nearly 20 percent have had lesbian relationships.

      1953–58: The National Urban League Foster Care and Adoptions Project conducts a national effort to find adoptive homes for African American children.

      1957: The peak year of the post–World War II baby boom in the United States; 4.3 million children are born this year in the United States.

      1958: First publication of Standards for Adoption Service by the Child Welfare League of America, with recommendations for legal and social work practice on issues such as confidentiality and matching.

      1958–67: The Indian Adoption Project, conducted by the Child Welfare League of America and funded by the federal government, places almost 400 Native American children with white families at a time when the principle of matching (placing adoptive children with families similar in religion, race, and so forth, to their birth parents) dominates adoption practice.

      1960: Two new methods of birth control, the IUD (intrauterine device) and the birth control pill, are both approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

      1960: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in just 11 percent of households with children under the age of 18 is a female head of household the primary or sole source of income; by 2011, this will increase to 40 percent.

      1960: Psychiatrist Marshall Schechter publishes “Observations on Adopted Children,” claiming that adopted children are far more likely than children raised by their parents to suffer from a variety of emotional problems; his research is challenged on the basis that it is based entirely on patients in his practice rather than a nationally representative sample.

      1963: Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique, bringing attention to the limitations imposed on college-educated women, who are expected to marry and focus their attention on their homes and families, leaving their intellectual and career interests behind.

      1965: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Paul Barton, and Ellen Broderick publish The Negro Family: A Case for National Action, a book assessing African American households by the normative standards of white families and finding them wanting; the heritage of slavery is one reason offered by the authors for this state of affairs.

      1965: All U.S. states have laws restricting abortion, although some allow therapeutic abortions (i.e., to save the life of the mother).

      1965: Title IX of the federal Social Security Act of 1965 creates the Medicaid program, a federal–state partnership providing health insurance for low-income individuals, including many children.

      1965: The Los Angeles Bureau of Adoptions begins an outreach program to encourage single parents to adopt children; the initial focus is finding African American adoptive parents for African American children, and over the next two years, 40 children are placed with single parents.

      1965: In Griswold v. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court declares unconstitutional a Connecticut law prohibiting married couples from using contraception.

      1965: The Immigration and Naturalization Act Amendments of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, abolishes the national origins formula for immigration to the United States and favors immigrants with family ties or valuable skills.

      1966: Historian Barbara Welter publishes “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820–1860” in the American Quarterly, analyzing the image of women as presented in religious literature and women's magazines in the first half of the 19th century. Welter argues that these cultural forces created a sort of social control in which women in this period were expected to marry and remain at home, to submit to their husbands, and to act as moral guardians of their children.

      1967: The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia overturns state laws barring interracial marriage; the case is brought by Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial married couple who were convicted in Virginia of violating Virginia's 1924 Racial Integrity Act.

      1968: Theologian Mary Daly publishes The Church and the Second Sex, arguing that the Catholic Church is a patriarchal institution that systematically kept women from being able to be full participants in society; this book is so controversial that it almost keeps her from gaining tenure at Boston College.

      1968: Promulgation of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act, which is adopted by all 50 states by 1980; among other provisions, it requires that a state must honor a custody order issued in another state except under specific circumstances.

      1970: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 40 percent of households in the United States consist of a married couple with their own children under the age of 18; this percentage will decline to 31 percent by 1980, and 26 percent by 1990.

      1970: About 175,000 children are adopted in the United States, the most since accurate records began being kept after World War II.

      1970: The Family Planning Services and Population Research Act provides federal funding for family planning services; in 1972, Medicaid is authorized to provide family planning services as well.

      1970: The marriage rate in the United States is 10.6 per 1,000, and the divorce rate is 3.5 per 1,000.

      1972: The sociologist Robert B. Hill publishes The Strength of Black Families, arguing that differences between African American and normative white families are not necessarily inferiorities but could be strengths; among the examples he offers are religious commitment, extended kinship ties, and adaptive family roles.

      1972–78: The television series Maude, created by Norman Lear and starring Bea Arthur and Bill Macy, airs on CBS; the series includes a story line about abortion as well as a lead character who has been divorced multiple times.

      1973: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade, strikes down all state laws restricting abortion during the first three months (first trimester) of pregnancy, and limits the states' right to restrict abortion between the first trimester and the time that a fetus becomes viable.

      1973: The National Center for Health Statistics conducts the first National Survey of Family Growth, conducting interviews with a national sample of women ages 15 to 44 years, gathering information on topics such as maternal and infant health, contraceptive use, infertility, marriage, and divorce.

      1973: Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud, and Alfred J. Solnit publish Beyond the Best Interests of the Child, arguing for the importance to children of continuity in nurturing relationships and permanent decisions regarding custody in the case of divorce.

      1974: Enactment of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), the key federal legislation regarding child abuse and neglect in the United States; CAPTA was most recently reauthorized and amended in 2010.

      1977: The television miniseries Roots, based on a book by Alex Haley, dramatizes the story of African Americans in the United States through the ancestry of one African slave captured in the 1700s and running up to the current day. The series draws attention to the continuity of the African American experience and the importance of the family; it also motivates many Americans, African American or otherwise, to begin researching their own genealogy.

      1977: British sociologist Penelope Leach publishes Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five; it becomes a best seller, reassuring mothers that their own feelings and their observations of their own child would help them make the right parenting decisions.

      1978: A survey conducted with a national probability sample of white women born between 1901 and 1910 and having been married at least once finds that 71 percent reported using contraception, with the most popular methods being condoms (54 percent), contraceptive douche (47 percent), withdrawal (45 percent), and rhythm (24 percent).

      1978: The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 prohibits the unnecessary removal of Native American children from their families and requires that those removed be placed in homes recognizing Indian cultural values.

      1979–80: The first administration of the National Incidence Study (NIS), a congressionally mandated survey of the incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States.

      1980: Ronald Reagan is elected president of the United States. A member of the Republican Party, his campaign emphasizes “family values,” despite the fact that Reagan is the first (and still the only) president to be divorced.

      1982: Scott Thorson, a former live-in partner of Liberace, sues Liberace for palimony; Thorson receives a relatively small settlement of $75,000.

      1983: The U.S. Supreme Court, in City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, declares as unconstitutional legislation passed in Akron, Ohio, that places several restrictions on a woman's ability to obtain an abortion, including requiring a 24-hour waiting period and requiring that abortions be performed in hospitals.

      1983: No-fault divorce is available in every U.S. state except New York and South Dakota.

      1985: Just under 50 percent of U.S. women ages 18–24 and just over 60 percent of U.S. men in that age group live with their parents, in both cases a substantial increase from 1960, when about 35 percent of women and 52 percent of men in that age group lived with their parents.

      1986: The Immigration Reform and Control Act, signed into law by President Reagan, offers legal residency to most illegal immigrants who have lived continuously in the United States since December 31, 1981, or earlier.

      1987: Elizabeth Pleck publishes Domestic Tyranny: The Making of Social Policy Against Family Violence From Colonial Times to the Present, arguing that societal concern about domestic violence varies according to attitudes about the family. For instance, there is little interest in criminalizing domestic violence in periods when families are idealized and patriarchal roles are dominant, whereas in periods where more concern is paid to the welfare of women and children, the law has more interest in intervening in cases of domestic violence.

      1988–98: The television series Murphy Brown, starring Candice Bergen, airs on CBS; the show achieves particular notoriety in 1992, when vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle denounces it for promoting single motherhood when Murphy Brown has a baby.

      1990: The divorce rate in the United States is 20.9 per 1,000.

      1991: Tennis star Martina Navratilova is sued by her former partner, Judy Nelson, for palimony; the case is settled out of court in 1992.

      1993: The Family and Medical Leave Act is the first federal law to require some employers (meeting certain requirements) to allow workers to take up to 12 weeks off, without pay, for reasons including the birth or adoption of a child, recovery from a serious health condition, or caring for a family member with a serious health condition.

      1993: The Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, also known as the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, sets out a number of procedures intended to prevent international trafficking of children and protect the interests of everyone involved in international adoptions.

      1994: The California ballot initiative Proposition 187, which would ban illegal immigrants from using state social services such as education or health care, is passed by voters, but a federal court rules that it is unconstitutional.

      1994: The Howard M. Metzenbaum Multiplacement Act prohibits agencies receiving federal assistance to discriminate against adoptive and foster parents based on race, national origin, or skin color, a change in policy from the previous norm of trying to match a child with an adoptive family based on those factors.

      1995: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the total fertility rate for U.S. women in the United States is 1.98 per woman, with some variability by race and ethnicity: for Hispanic women the rate is 2.8, for non-Hispanic white 1.78, for non-Hispanic blacks 2.19, and for Asians 1.8.

      1996: The U.S. Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is signed into law by President Bill Clinton. DOMA prohibits same-sex married couples from receiving marriage benefits and allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages.

      1996: Bastard Nation is founded by members of Usenet newsgroup alt. adoption to militate for the right of adopted children to gain access to their original birth certificates.

      1997: The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is created, providing federal funds to states to provide insurance coverage to children who are not eligible for Medicaid but whose families cannot afford to purchase private insurance.

      1998: A British physician, Andrew Wakefield, presents research purporting to show that autism is linked to childhood vaccines; although the research is later discredited, many parents choose to not have their children vaccinated, a choice that has been implicated in later outbreaks of vaccine-preventable childhood diseases such as measles.

      1998: Adult adoptees in Oregon are grant access to their original birth certificates under Ballot Measure 58.

      1998: An article in Nature includes the results of DNA tests that establish that Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, fathered at least one child, and possibly six children, with one of his slaves, Sally Hemings.

      1999: All U.S. states have amended their legal codes to recognize rape within marriage as a crime.

      1999–2001: Life expectancy at birth in the United States is 76.83 years, but gender and race remain associated with different life expectancies. For white males, life expectancy at birth is 74.4 years; for white females, 79.45 years; for African American males, 68.08 years; and for African American females, 75.12 years.

      2000: The U.S. census reports that 77 percent of African American families are headed by a married couple, a decline from the 87 percent of families so headed in 1960.

      2000: Foreign-born adopted children become American citizens as soon as they enter the United States under the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, rather than having to go through the naturalization process.

      2000: The U.S. census includes the category of adopted son/daughter for the first time.

      2000: Vermont begins allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, which offer the same protections and benefits as marriage.

      2001: A review of 21 studies, published in the American Sociological Review, finds no evidence of any notable differences between children raised by gay or lesbian parents and children raised by heterosexual parents.

      2002: The National Survey of Family Growth includes men for the first time; interviews are conducted with 7,643 females and 4,928 males ages 15 to 44 years, selected to be nationally representative of the United States.

      2002: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 69 percent of American children live with two parents, 23 percent with their mother only, 5 percent with their father only, and 4 percent in households with neither parent present; of those living in households without a parent present, 44 percent live in the household of a grandparent.

      2002: According to the National Survey of Family Growth, women ages 15 to 44 years in the United States expect to have an average of 2.3 children over their lifetime; the same number is found in the 2006 to 2010 cycle of surveys.

      2003–07: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds wide differences in maternal mortality by geographic region, from a high of 19 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births to a low of 6.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 in New England.

      2005–07: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports wide discrepancies in maternal mortality by race and ethnicity in the United States: for non-Hispanic whites, the maternal mortality rate is 10.4 per 100,000 live births, compared to 34 per 100,000 for non-Hispanic blacks, 16.9 per 100,000 for American Indians and Alaska Natives, 11 per 100,000 for Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 9.6 per 100,000 for Hispanics.

      2006:Brokeback Mountain, a 2005 film directed by Ang Lee and featuring a love story between two men, wins Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

      2006: Infant mortality in the United States is 6.7 per 1,000 live births, a relatively high rate compared to countries of similar economic and social development, such as France (3.8 per 1,000), Norway (3.2 per 1,000), and Japan (2.6 per 1,000).

      2006–10: According to the National Survey of Family Growth, 54.4 percent of women ages 15 to 44 years report being married when their first child was born, 21.9 percent were cohabiting, and 23.6 percent were neither married or cohabiting; by way of comparison, in 2002, 62.3 percent reported being married when their first child was born, 12.4 percent cohabiting, and 25.3 percent neither married nor cohabiting.

      2006–10: According to the National Survey of Family Growth, 62 percent of U.S. women ages 15 to 44 report using contraception, with the most popular methods being the birth control pill (17 percent), female sterilization (17 percent), and condoms (10 percent). The pill is the most common method among women ages 20 to 24 (47 percent) and 25 to 29 (33 percent); for older age groups, female sterilization was the most common method, with 30 percent of women ages 30 to 34, 37 percent of women ages 35 to 39, and 51 percent of women ages 40 to 44 reporting using female sterilization as their method of contraception.

      2007: According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of U.S. adults say that it is more difficult to be a mother today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, and 60 percent say it is more difficult to be a father; 38 percent of respondents say the influence of societal factors (television, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, etc.) is the biggest challenge parents face in raising children.

      2008: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 41 percent of births in the United States are to unmarried women.

      2008: California voters pass Proposition 8, following a campaign funded by out-of-state sources, banning same-sex marriage; it is ruled unconstitutional in 2010 in U.S. District Court, a decision upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

      2008: Annette Gordon-Reed wins the National Book Award for nonfiction for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, a history book examining the relationship between Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, and his slave Sally Hemings, in the context of slavery in Virginia at the time.

      2008: According to the Pew Research Center, over half (52 percent of U.S. adults are married in 2008, with marriage more common among college graduates (64 percent) than those with a high school diploma or less (48 percent).

      2008: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 88 U.S. children are identified as having an autism spectrum disorder as of 2008, up from 1 in 150 in 2000.

      2009: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 2.4 million men in the United States are custodial fathers (raising their children while the mother lives elsewhere), and about 11.2 million women are custodial mothers.

      2009: The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act reauthorizes and provides additional funds for CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program), which provides federal funds to states to subsidize insurance for children ineligible for Medicaid but whose families are too poor to provide private insurance.

      2009: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. marriage rate is 6.8 per 1,000 population, and the divorce rate 3.6 per 1,000.

      2010: According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 39 percent of respondents believe marriage is becoming obsolete, versus 28 percent who gave that response in a Time magazine poll of registered voters in 1978.

      2010: The CBS television program Modern Family wins the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, a victory it repeats in 2011 and 2012; the show's story lines involve several nontraditional families, including one consisting of two gay men and an adopted child, and another headed by a single mother.

      2010: New York becomes the final U.S. state to allow no-fault divorce, so that divorce can be granted on grounds such as irreconcilable differences rather than needing to establish that one party is at fault (e.g., for committing adultery).

      2010: The Affordable Care Act extends CHIP funding through 2015 and maintains CHIP standards through 2019.

      2010: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 5.4 million married couples in the United States are interracial or interethnic; among these couples, the most common combinations are a white non-Hispanic married to a Hispanic, and a white non-Hispanic married to an Asian non-Hispanic.

      2010: According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average age of first-time U.S. mothers is 25.4 years; by comparison, in 1980 the average age of first-time U.S. mothers was 22.7.

      2010: According to the March 2010 Current Population Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 46 percent of adult unauthorized immigrants to the United States are parents of minor children, compared to 29 percent of U.S. natives and 38 percent of authorized immigrants.

      2010: A study published in the scholarly journal Demography concludes that children raised by same-sex couples have the same level of educational achievement as those raised by married opposite-sex couples.

      2011: According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. mothers with at least one child under age 18 spend an average of 14 hours per week in child care, and fathers spend an average of 7 hours per week; by way of comparison, in 1965 mothers spent an average of 10 hours per week, and fathers 2.5 hours per week.

      2011: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11.7 percent of children born in the United States are preterm and 8.1 percent have low birth weight (below 2,500 grams).

      2011: According to the Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of new mothers have at least some college education, while only 43 percent have just a high school diploma or less; in 1960, just 18 percent of new mothers had at least some college education, while 82 percent had a high school education or less.

      2011: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the twin birthrate in the United States was 33.2 per 1,000 live births, and the triplet or higher order birthrate was 137 per 100,000 live births.

      2011: According to a Pew Research Center report, fathers in the United States spend an average of 7.3 hours per week with their children, a substantial increase from the 2.5 hours per week reported in 1965.

      2011: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the teen birthrate (live births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19 years) declined 25 percent between 2007 and 2011.

      2011: According to the National Vital Statistics System, the general fertility rate in the United States is the lowest yet reported, at 63.2 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44; this represents a 1 percent decline from 2010.

      2012: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 85 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months in the United States are immunized for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DPT), 94 percent for polio, 92 percent for measles, and 91 percent for chicken pox (varicella).

      2012: The “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” memorandum states that prosecutorial discretion should be exercised toward illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, and allows individuals who meet certain requirements to apply for deferred action on their immigration status. These requirements include having come to the United States before age 16, having continually resided in the United States for at least five years, and to be in school, have graduated from high school, or be discharged from the military.

      2013: According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 8 percent of households with minor children are headed by a single father, a substantial increase from 1960, when just over 1 percent of households with minor children were headed by a single father.

      2013: Thirteen U.S. states recognize marriage equality for same-sex couples—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington—as does Washington, D.C.

      2013: According to a study of Michigan birth certificates from 1993 to 2006, conducted by Douglas Almond and Maya Rossin-Slater of Michigan, unmarried men are slightly (4 percent) more likely to acknowledge paternity following the birth of a boy than the birth of a girl.

      2013: According to a report released in February by Gary Gates from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), based on the American Community Surveys from 2005 through 2011, there are almost 650,000 same-sex couples in the United States, with about 20 percent of these couples raising children.

      2013: On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional; this ruling allows same-sex married couples whose marriage is recognized by the state in which they live to receive federal marriage benefits (e.g., insurance, pensions, protection from the federal estate tax).

      2013: According to a study released in June by the Pew Research Center, 23 percent of gay or bisexual men in the United States are fathers, and 48 percent of lesbian or bisexual women are mothers.

      2013: According to a report released in July by the Center for American Progress, 16.6 million people in the United States are in “mixed-status” immigrant families that include both documented and undocumented family members.

      2013: According to data from the National Survey of Family Growth, conducted from 2006 to 2010 and its report on August 14, 2013, 6 percent of married women age 15 to 44 in the United States are infertile, a drop from the 8.5 percent infertility rate for this age group reported in 1984.

      2013: According to a report released on September 27 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half (50.5 percent) of U.S. women who were pregnant or would be pregnant during the 2012 to 2013 flu season had received a flu vaccine before or during the pregnancy. Rates were higher (70.5 percent) among women whose physician both recommended and offered the flu vaccine to them.

      2014: In January, Professor Stephen Jenkins of the Institute for Social and Economic Research releases a report, Marital Splits and Income Changes Over the Longer Term, reveals that in Great Britain, men's income increases by about one-third following divorce, while women's income falls by more than 20 percent.

      2014: On June 4, Emily DeFranco and colleagues publish research in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology based on data from the Ohio Department of Health, indicating that ideally women should allow at least 18 months between giving birth and getting pregnant again, with shorter birth intervals associated with higher rates of prematurity.

      2014: As of June 15, over 52,000 unaccompanied child migrants have arrived at the U.S.–Mexican border since October 2013, almost twice as many as in the same period a year ago. Many of these child migrants are from Central American countries, such as Honduras and El Salvador, and have been transported through Mexico by human smugglers.

      2014: According to a report released by the Pew Research Center on July 17, 18.1 percent of Americans (57 million people) were living in multigenerational households in 2010, up from 17.8 percent in 2011 and 12.1 percent in 1980.

      2014: As of July 25, 19 U.S. states, plus Washington, D.C., adopt full marriage equality for same-sex couples and three more states allowing domestic partnerships or civil unions for same-sex couples.

      Sarah E.Boslaugh, Kennesaw State University
    • Glossary

      • Adolescence: A time of life typically defined as between 12 and 18 years, or 12 and 19 years, although some researchers (including G. S. Hall, 1904) extend it to an age as late as 22 to 25 years.
      • Adolescent Family Life Act: A federal law, enacted in 1981, that promoted chastity among adolescents and resulted in the creation of the first abstinence-only sex education course in the United States.
      • The Adopted Break Silence: A 1954 book written by Jean M. Paton, herself an adopted child and founder of the orphan search network Orphan Voyage, which featured the voices of many adopted children.
      • Affinal relationships: In cultural anthropology, relationships based on marriage rather than genetic ties, including mothers- and fathers-in-law, sisters- and brothers-in-law, and sons- and daughters-in-law.
      • Age of consent: The minimum age, according to the law, at which a female is presumed to be capable of consenting to sexual intercourse.
      • Age-specific fertility rate: The average number of births per 1,000 women in a specific age category (e.g., 15–19, 20–24, etc.).
      • Alan Guttmacher Institute: An organization, founded in 1968 as the Center for Family Planning Program Development, to advocate for sexual and reproductive health through research, education, and public information campaigns. The Guttmacher Institute maintains offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.
      • American Birth Control League (ABCL): An organization founded in New York City by Margaret Sanger in 1921 for the purposes of providing education and clinical services to women and working for legislation to make birth control more available.
      • Baby boom: The rapid increase in the birthrate in the United States following the conclusion of World War II; the baby boom peaked in 1957, but the cohort of individuals born between 1946 and 1964 are often referred to as “baby boomers.”
      • Bastard Nation: An organization formed in 1996 by members of the Usenet newsgroup alt.adoption to militate for adopted children to be given access to their original birth certificates, a desire that ran contrary to the practice in many states to keep adoption records confidential and sealed.
      • Battered woman syndrome (BWS): A medical condition first identified in 1979 by psychologist Lenore Walker, which identified common patterns of events and psychological responses typical of women who are the victims of domestic violence. BWS has been used as a legal defense for women who kill their abusers, arguing that they felt there was no other way out of their situation.
      • Bay Area Families Study: A study, led by Charlotte J. Patterson, of a group of children adopted or born to lesbian mothers. Patterson concluded that these children were similar to children raised by heterosexual parents, including in the areas of social competence, behavior, and preferences for playmates and activities.
      • BCCRB: The Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau, a clinic founded in 1923 in New York City by Margaret Sanger, which provided a number of services including gynecological exams, marriage counseling, and birth control.
      • Birth Control Review: A publication founded by Margaret Sanger to advocate legalization of birth control; it was published from 1917 to 1940.
      • Birthrate: The number of births per 1,000 population per year.
      • Boston marriage: An intense emotional relationship between two unrelated women that often continued over their lifetimes and that may or may not have included physical intimacy; the term is most often used to refer to such relationships between two unmarried women in the United States in the late 19th century.
      • California Child Actor's Bill: A law passed in California in 1939 to safeguard the earnings of child performers; the law was passed in response to the case of Jackie Coogan, a child actor who earned millions of dollars, most of which was spent by his parents before he reached adulthood.
      • CAPTA: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, key federal legislation regarding child abuse and neglect; it was originally enacted in 1974 and most recently reauthorized in 2010.
      • CASA: Court appointed special advocate, an adult volunteer who advocates for abused and neglected children while their case is in the social services or legal system. CASA volunteers stay with a case until the child is permanently placed in a home, making them often the only constant adult presence in the child's life during this period.
      • Child Support Recovery Act: A 1992 federal law intended to encourage parents ordered to pay child support to do so, and making it easier to prosecute those who do not pay, including those who reside in a different state than the child.
      • Child Welfare League of America: An organization founded in 1921 as a federation of about 70 organizations providing services to children; the league has been particularly influential in promoting standards for adoption practices.
      • CHIP: The Children's Health Insurance Program, a federal-state program to provide health insurance for children who do not quality for Medicaid but whose families cannot afford private health insurance.
      • Civil union: A legally recognized relationship between two people that is similar to marriage; typically, individuals entering into a civil union must meet the standards for marriage (e.g., age) but may be (or may be required to be, depending on the location) members of the same sex.
      • Collateral relationships: In cultural anthropology, relationships with cousins, aunts and uncles, and nieces and nephews.
      • Common law marriage: A marriage recognized as official by government entities but without the couple having gone through a traditional marriage ceremony. The concept dates back to English common law, and, as of 2013, 10 U.S. states recognize common law marriages.
      • Complex marriage: A type of marriage practiced at the Oneida Community in New York State between 1848 and 1879; under complex marriage, all adult members of the community (which was equally balanced by gender) considered themselves married to all opposite sex members of the community and could change sexual partners at will.
      • Covenant marriage: A marriage in which both parties agree to certain restrictions, such as giving up the right to file for no-fault divorce. Covenant marriages, developed in the 1990s, are seen by some as a way to make a marriage more serious or elevated by making it more difficult for the parties to divorce.
      • Coverture: A principle in English common law, which provided the basis for state law in every U.S. state except Louisiana, stating that a woman gave up many of her rights upon marriage, including the right to own and manage her own property and wages and the right to sue or be sued in court. Children were also considered the property of their father.
      • CPS: Child Protective Services, a state agency appointed to investigate reports of child maltreatment and to provide intervention and treatment as necessary.
      • Cult of True Womanhood: A concept put forth by historian Barbara Welter in 1964, arguing that women's magazines and religious literature in the 19th century created an ideal of female behavior that required them to marry, remain at home while their husband earned the income, and act as the moral guardians of their children.
      • Darwinist family theory: An explanation of the structure and function of families, first put forth in the 19th century and drawing on the biological and evolutionary theories of British scientist Charles Darwin, that the family was a social organism that developed as an adaptation to the social environment.
      • Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act: A 1998 law allowing the federal government to prosecute parents who owe substantial amounts of child support, including support for a child living in a different state than the parent; the law strengthens the provisions of the 1992 Child Support Recovery Act and is intended to make it more difficult for parents to avoid paying child support by moving out of state.
      • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: A U.S. policy, enacted in 2012, that allows illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children and meet certain other requirements to apply for deferred action on their immigration status.
      • Derivative citizenship: Citizenship bestowed automatically on minor children and wives when their father/husband becomes a naturalized citizen; minor children have received derivative citizenship in the United States since 1790, and women since 1855.
      • Developmental disability: A variety of severe, chronic conditions that generally have an onset between birth and adolescence and make it difficult for individuals to perform basic functions such as communication, self-care, and independent living.
      • Displaced homemaker: A term coined in the 1970s to refer to women who are divorced or widowed after a number of years spent out of the labor force, caring for their families. Displaced homemakers may have little recent familiarity with the world of work and few marketable skills at a time when they face the need to work in order to support themselves.
      • Divorce mill: A city in which it is relatively easy to obtain a divorce and, particularly in the years before no-fault divorce became common, that could attract “divorce tourists” who would temporarily move to that city in order to obtain a divorce. Reno, Nevada, is the most famous example, but Fargo, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, Iowa; and Indianapolis, Indiana, also served as divorce mills at different times in U.S. history.
      • Divortium a mensa et thoro: A legal term referring to a divorce that allowed individuals to live separately but not to remarry.
      • Divortium a vincula matrimonii: A legal term referring to an absolute divorce that allows the individual to remarry.
      • DOMA: The Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 federal law prohibiting same-sex couples from receiving marriage benefits and allowing states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that Section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional and that same-sex couples who were legally married in their state were entitled to federal marriage benefits (e.g., health insurance, pensions, joint income tax filing, protection from federal estate taxes).
      • Donor Sibling Registry: An organization founded in 2000 to help people conceived by embryo, egg, or sperm donation to connect with donors and half-siblings.
      • Dower: A principle in English common law, and also applied in colonial America, that a wife inherited one-third of her husband's personal property and real estate upon his death; if this stipulation was not included in a will, the widow could contest it in court. The purpose of the dower was to support the widow and prevent her from becoming a public charge, and her rights did not have to extend beyond her own lifetime unless the husband stipulated otherwise in his will.
      • Endogamy: Traditional rules specifying whom one is allowed to marry; such rules are specific to a given culture but may include marrying within one's race or caste, for instance.
      • Exoduster movement: The movement of African Americans from the Southern U.S. states to Kansas in order to begin farming homesteads, as provided by the Homestead Act of 1862. The Exodusters were motivated by the opportunity to obtain land and also to escape racial oppression in the South.
      • Exogamy: Traditional rules specifying whom one is barred from marrying; for instance, in many cultures marriage is prohibited between members of the same nuclear family.
      • Extended family: A family consisting of at least three generations of individuals, most often grandparents, parents, and children.
      • Family Equity Council: An organization founded in 1979 as the Gay Fathers Coalition to support gay fathers. In 1986 it began admitting lesbian mothers as members and changed its name to the Gay and Lesbian Parents Coalition International; in 1998, the name was changed the Family Pride Coalition, to include transgender and bisexual parents, and in 2007 to the Family Equality Council.
      • Family Limitation: A 1914 pamphlet by Margaret Sanger providing specific information about different forms of contraception; because Family Limitation violated the Comstock laws prohibiting sending birth control information through the mail, Sanger did not allow it to be circulated until she was safely out of the country (in England).
      • Far From the Reservation: A 1972 book by David Fanshel, studying the outcomes of Native American children and the non–Native American families that adopted them through the Indian Adoption Project. Fanshel concluded that most of the adopted children were well-adjusted, supporting the notion that transracial adoptions could be successful, but also noting that removing the children from their tribal roots had a cost.
      • Feme covert: Literally, a woman “covered” by her husband, a concept in English common law (which is also the basis of state law in every U.S. state except Louisiana) that deprived a married woman of many of her rights to act independently, including keeping her own earnings, owning property, and signing contracts. Around 1840, many U.S. states began allowing married women more rights, although aspects of the feme covert concept remained in U.S. law well into the 20th century.
      • Feme sol: A term in English common law that allowed single women to engage in many independent activities not available to married women, including running their own business, signing contracts, and suing and being sued.
      • Fictive relatives: People who are not related by marriage or blood but who act as a family to provide support for each other.
      • Functionalist family theory: An explanation of the structure and function of the family, put forth in the late 19th century by French sociologist Émile Durkheim, positing that the family plays a key role in societal preservation and that changes in family structure were adaptations to preserve an equilibrium with other social institutions.
      • Griswold v. Connecticut: A 1965 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Connecticut law that prohibited married couples from using contraception.
      • Guardian ad litem: An adult, either a lawyer or a volunteer, appointed to represent the best interests of a child in court.
      • Hart-Celler Act: The Immigration and Naturalization Act Amendments of 1965, which favored immigrants with family members already in the United States or who had valuable skills in demand in the United States.
      • The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family: A history book by Annette Gordon-Reed that examines the relationship between President Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings in the context of slavery as it was practiced in Virginia at the time. The Hemingses of Monticello was awarded the 1984 National Book Award for nonfiction.
      • Homeschooling: Educating one's children at home rather than sending them to school; although initially prohibited by compulsory attendance laws from the mid-19th century onward, homeschooling became more popular in the 1970s and is now legal in all states and the District of Columbia.
      • How Foster Children Turn Out: The first major outcome study of fostered and adopted children, conducted in the 1920s by Sophie van Senden Theis; it concluded that most of the 910 children studied turned out well, in terms of academics, ability to support themselves, and lack of involvement with the law.
      • Independent adoption: An adoption in which the birthparent(s) places a child with a family, often with the assistance of a lawyer or counselor, but without going through an agency.
      • Infant mortality rate: The number of deaths to children from birth to the first year of life per 1,000 live births.
      • Jack & Jill of America, Inc.: A social organization founded in 1938 by a group of middle-class African American mothers, led by Marion Stubbs Thomas, in Philadelphia to provide a way for their children and other middle-class African American children to socialize with each other.
      • “Jumping the Broom”: According to some anthropologists, a ceremony signifying marriage between two African American slaves, who were not allowed to legally marry; such a marriage had no force in law, and the spouses could be separated at any time by their owners.
      • Kinship care: Official placement of a child in the home of a relative other than the child's parents.
      • Lanham Act: A 1943 federal law providing for the construction and operation of day care facilities to care for the children of women who joined the workforce during World War II.
      • Lineal relationships: In cultural anthropology, relationships between grandparents and grandchildren.
      • Links, Inc.: An organization of African American women, founded in 1946 in Pennsylvania, whose purposes include providing opportunities for African American families and youth, and working with other civil rights groups such as the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the United Negro College Fund.
      • Lucy Stone League: An organization, founded in 1921, which advocated for the right of women to keep their birth name after marriage.
      • Lying-in: The period during which a woman gives birth and recovers from the birth, during which time she is not expected to perform her household duties. Although the concept of a specified lying-in period is no longer current, the term is sometimes used in the names of hospitals, for example, the Boston Lying-In Hospital, established in 1832, which merged with the Free Hospital for Women to form the Boston Hospital for Women in 1966.
      • Mandated reporter: Someone required by law to report suspected child abuse; states differ in terms of who is considered a mandated reporter, but often the categories include professionals such as teachers, school principals, health care professionals, and social workers.
      • Mandatory arrest laws: Laws requiring police to arrest the alleged perpetrator when called to a domestic violence scene; the purpose of mandatory arrest is to remove a presumably violent person from a situation in which further violence may occur and to allow the victim(s) time to regroup and recover from the assault.
      • Marriage education movement: A movement on U.S. college campuses from the 1930s into the 1960s to provide practical education in marriage and family life, based on scientific knowledge.
      • Marxist family theory: An explanation for the structure and function of families, first posited in the 19th century and drawing on the theories of German economist Karl Marx, that families are a means of organizing economic resources and that the organization within the family (e.g., the father as head of household) can also be explained in terms of social power.
      • Matching: The principle that adoptive children should be placed with a family that matches their birth parents in terms of race, religion, etc. The principle of matching was standard in U.S. adoption practice for much of the 20th century, although it is no longer considered a necessity today.
      • Maternal mortality rate: The number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
      • Medicaid: A program created under the Social Security Act of 1965 to provide health insurance to low-income individuals and families, including many children. Medicaid standards are established by each state, and the program is paid for by a combination of federal and state funds.
      • Modern Woman: The Lost Sex: A 1947 best-selling book by sociologist/psychoanalyst Marynia Farnhan and historian Ferdinand Lundberg, arguing that women should accept a domestic role, acknowledge their inherent inferiority, and remain passive in terms of their sexuality. Because it was published soon after the conclusion of World War II, during which time many women worked outside the home in order to aid the war effort, Modern Woman was an attempt to roll back the changes that occurred during that time period and attacked feminism as a disease.
      • Mommy track: A term first used in a 1989 magazine article by Felice Schwartz, describing the costs to women's careers of having and raising children. Schwartz posited that women who temporarily left the workplace or worked part-time when their children were young never “caught up” to their male peers who devoted themselves full-time to work during the comparable years of their own careers.
      • Mother's pensions: Funds provided by a state government to single mothers, widows, and women whose husbands had deserted them, in order to enable them to stay home to raise their children. Missouri passed the first Mother's pension law in 1911, and 39 states had passed similar laws by 1919.
      • National Survey of Family Growth: A series of interviews first conducted in 1973 by the National Center for Health Statistics to collect data about topics such as contraception, infertility, marriage, and divorce; the most recent cycle of interviews is currently being conducted and will be completed in 2015.
      • National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO): An organization founded in 1967, primarily by women with dependent children receiving welfare, to improve the lives and dignity of all welfare recipients; one of its goals was to achieve a guaranteed annual income for all Americans.
      • Nature/nurture studies: Studies that try to determine which characteristics of an adult human being can be attributed to genetic factors and which to the circumstances in which they are raised; identical and fraternal twins, raised together and apart, are often used in studies attempting to isolate these influences.
      • The Negro Family in the United States: A 1966 book by African American sociologist E. Franklin Frazer, who posited that African Americans remain trapped in poverty because conditions within the African American family, including matriarchy, had developed in response to slavery but weakened the authority of men and created a dysfunctional family unit.
      • New Harmony: A utopian community created in 1824 by Robert Owen in New Harmony, Indiana. One of the organizing principles of New Harmony was gender equality, which Owen believed could be best realized by allowing couples to divorce whenever one of the partners no longer wanted to be in the relationship, and to have children raised collectively rather than within a nuclear family.
      • Nicodemus, Kansas: A small town in northern Kansas founded by Exodusters, that is, African Americans from Southern U.S. states who moved to the Midwest to take advantage of farmland that become available under the Homestead Act of 1862.
      • NIS: National Immunization Survey, a study first conducted in 1994 by the National Opinion Research Center of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the NIS collects data on immunization for children between the ages of 19 and 35 months.
      • NIS: National Incidence Study, a congressionally mandated survey of the incidence of child abuse and neglect in the United States. The first NIS was conducted in 1979 and 1980, and it has been repeated periodically since then, most recently from 2004 to 2009 (NIS-IV).
      • No-fault divorce: A divorce granted on grounds such as irreconcilable differences, without the need to establish that one party was at fault (e.g., by committing adultery); as of 2010, all U.S. states allow no-fault divorce.
      • NSCH: The National Survey of Children's Health, a national U.S. telephone survey conducted for the first time in 2003 to 2004 and most recently in 2011 to 2012. The NSCH collects information on child and family demographics, child and parental health status, and access to health care.
      • Nuclear family: A family consisting of only two generations of individuals: a husband and wife and their children. Given the changes in family structure in the 20th and 21st centuries, the definition of nuclear family is often extended to include children from one of the parents' previous relationships or marriages, and single-parent families.
      • NVSS: The National Vital Statistics System, a cooperative system in which vital statistics are collected by state or local jurisdictions, and collected and disseminated by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
      • “Observations on Adopted Children”: A 1960 article by psychiatrist Marshall Schechter, published in Archives of General Psychiatry, arguing that adopted children suffer from more emotional disorders than children raised with their parents. Schechter's conclusions were criticized on the grounds that they were based on patients in his private practice, not on a nationally representative sample.
      • Open adoption: In contrast to sealed or confidential adoption, open adoption allows the birth and adoptive families of a child to retain the option to initiate or maintain contact with each other.
      • Orphan trains: The practice, between 1854 and 1929, of sending orphans (and some nonorphans) from East Coast cities to the western states, where they might be adopted The children were sent on trains with little oversight; orphan trains were organized by the New York Children's Aid Society and were particularly directed at immigrant children who, it was believed, would become good Americans by being raised among nonimmigrants in western states.
      • Our Bodies, Ourselves: A guidebook first published in 1971 by the Boston Women's Health Book Collective and updated several times since; it provides information about issues of health, sexuality, and childbirth and is notable for questioning the assumptions the collective believed lay under certain common medical practices.
      • Parens patriaedoctrine: The legal principle that the state has an interest in the care and welfare of children; the authority of institutions such as juvenile courts, schools, and social service agencies derive from the Parens patriae doctrine.
      • Parenting plan: A document created during a divorce to record decisions relating to minor children from the marriage, including custody, time-sharing between the parents, and decisions regarding the child's education, health, and well-being.
      • Picture bride: A Japanese or Korean woman who immigrated to Hawai‘i to marry a man whom she knew only through correspondence and the exchange of pictures.
      • Placing out: A movement begun in Massachusetts in 1868 to provide for the care of orphan or foster children in private homes rather than in institutions.
      • Polyandrous family: A family consisting of one wife, at least two husbands, and their children. This type of family structure is rare and usually develops as a means to avoid dividing inherited property among the sons by having one woman married to several brothers.
      • Polygamous family: A family consisting of one husband, at least two wives, and their children. Although currently outlawed in the United States, this type of family structure is common in some cultures in the world (e.g., Islam permits a man to have four wives).
      • Project Head Start: A federal program created in 1965 to provide an enriched preschool experience to poor children, with parents also encouraged to participate; by 1985, more than 8.5 million children had taken part in Head Start.
      • Proposition 187: A California ballot initiative passed by voters in 1994 to prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving social services such as health care and education; it was later ruled unconstitutional by a federal court.
      • Proxy adoption: An international adoption in which an American citizen appoints a proxy agent to act on his or her behalf in a foreign country. This was the most common way international adoptions were carried out in the 1950s, and it allowed parents to avoid state regulations concerning adoption because the child already was legally adopted before entering the United States.
      • PRWORA: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, a 1996 federal law that emphasized the importance of marriage to the well-being of children and provided support intended to encourage people to marry and to strengthen marriages.
      • Queerspawn: A term coined by Stefan Lynch to refer to children of gay and lesbian families; the term signals the acceptance of such children, even if they are heterosexual, within the larger queer community.
      • Race suicide: A term used to attack feminism by claiming that practices such as later marriage and birth control by more educated, native-born American women would result in the country being “overrun” by the children of immigrants and the poor.
      • Republican motherhood: A term used around the time of the American Revolution to refer to the presumed role women should play in creating a new American society; in republican motherhood, a woman's duties were confined to the domestic sphere but included tasks such as educating her children and instilling in them a sense of loyalty and patriotism.
      • Roe v. Wade: A 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that brought about sweeping changes in U.S. abortion laws, including prohibiting states from restricting a woman's access to abortion during the first three months (first trimester) of a pregnancy.
      • Rosie the Riveter: A colloquial term for women who worked in traditionally male jobs, particularly in defense industries, during World War II; the percentage of women working in the durable goods industries increased from 8 percent in 1940 to 25 percent by 1945.
      • RU-486: Mifepristone, a drug that can be used as a type of emergency contraception and to terminate early pregnancies (of less than 50 days duration).
      • Shared Fate: A Theory of Adoption and Mental Health: A 1964 book published by H. David Kirk that was the first to treat adoption as a sociological phenomenon rather than an arrangement made by individual parties.
      • Smith-Lever Act of 1914: A law providing federal financing for home economics courses in land grant universities, a reflection of the belief that women should train for the role of wife and mother as if it were a profession.
      • Social Security Act of 1935: A major piece of federal legislation providing many social benefits to Americans, including financial support for widows and children and pensions for the wives of workers.
      • SSI: Supplemental Security Income, a program of the U.S. Social Security Administration that pays benefits to disabled persons, including children under age 18.
      • Stepparent adoption: The adoption of a child by the spouse of one of the child's parents; in the United States, stepparent adoptions occur about twice as often as adoptions by someone other than a stepparent.
      • TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a federal program providing financial assistance on a temporary basis to poor families with dependent children; TANF replaced the AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) program in 1997.
      • Tender years doctrine: The principle that in the case of a divorce, custody of young children should be granted to the mother unless there is reason that she is considered unsuitable.
      • Total fertility rate: The average number of children that would be born alive to a woman during her childbearing years, based on the age-specific fertility rate in a given year.
      • Transracial adoption: An adoption in which the adoptive parents and the child are of different races. Transracial adoption was discouraged under the principle of matching, in which children were placed with a family similar to their birth parents—in fact, the first transracial adoption recorded in the United States took place in 1948—but transracial adoptions have become more common recently.
      • UMDA: The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, promulgated in 1970 by the Uniform Law Commission, to encourage greater uniformity among U.S. states regarding matters such as the age of consent, no-fault divorce, and child custody.
      • UMPA: The Uniform Marital Property Act, promulgated in 1983 as a model for the 41 U.S. states that divide property following a divorce based on common law principles.
      • United States v. Windsor: A U.S. Supreme Court decision, delivered on June 26, 2013, ruling that same-sex couples who are legally married in their state are entitled to federal marriage benefits, thus overturning Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
      • Vital statistics: Data about births, deaths, fetal deaths, marriages, and divorces, which are collected and reported by governmental entities (in the United States, through a cooperative effort of state and local jurisdictions and the National Center for Health Statistics).
      • Voluntary motherhood: The concept, first used in the late 19th century, that women should be able to control their own sexuality and reproduction, including use of contraception to control when they had children and how many children they had.
      • Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia: A hospital founded in 1861 to care for women and children. It was organized by Dr. Ann Preston, a graduate of the Woman's Medical College of Philadelphia.
      Sarah E.Boslaugh, Kennesaw State University

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      American History
      American Jewish History
      American Quarterly
      American Studies
      American Studies International
      American Studies Journal
      Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review
      Bulletins of the American Association for State and Local History
      California History
      Canadian Journal of History
      Child Advocacy & Protection
      Child Development
      Civil War History
      Colonial Williamsburg Journal
      Continuity and Change: A Journal of Social Structure, Law and Demography in Past Societies
      Cultural & Social History: The Journal of the Social History Society
      Demographic Research
      Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
      Family & Community History
      Family Journal
      Family Relations
      Feminist Studies
      Gender and History
      Georgia Historical Quarterly
      Histoire sociale/Social History
      Historical Journal of Massachusetts
      History: The Journal of the Historical Association
      History and Anthropology
      History and Memory
      The History of the Family
      The History of the Family: An International Quarterly
      History Today
      Immigrants & Minorities
      Indiana History
      International Review of Social History
      Jewish Culture & History
      Journal of American Ethnic History
      Journal of American Studies
      Journal of Arizona History
      Journal of Asian American Studies
      Journal of Child and Family Studies
      Journal of Children and Poverty
      Journal of Contemporary History
      Journal of Divorce and Remarriage
      Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
      Journal of Family History
      Journal of Family Issues
      Journal of Family Psychology
      Journal of Interdisciplinary History
      Journal of Marriage and Family
      Journal of Mississippi History
      Journal of Social History/Histoire sociale
      Journal of the Early Republic
      Journal of Urban History
      Journal of Women's History
      Kansas History
      Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas
      Maryland Historical Magazine
      Massachusetts Historical Review
      Minnesota History
      Mississippi History Now
      Nevada Historical Society Quarterly
      North Carolina Historical Review North Dakota History: Journal of the Northern Plains
      Oregon Historical Quarterly
      Organization of American Historians Magazine of History
      Past & Present: A Journal of Historical Studies
      Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies
      Population Research and Policy Review
      Population Studies: A Journal of Demography
      The Public Historian
      The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture
      Social History
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      South Dakota History
      Southwestern History Quarterly
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      Urban History Review/Revue d'histoire urbaine
      Utah Historical Quarterly
      Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
      Washington History
      William and Mary Quarterly: A Magazine of Early American History and Culture
      Wisconsin Magazine of History
      Women's History Review
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      Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods
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      University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Penn Child Research Center
      U.S. Census, Families and Living Arrangements
      Sarah E.Boslaugh, Kennesaw State University

      Appendix: America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2012: Population Characteristics

      By JonathanVespa, Jamie M.Lewis, and Rose M.Kreider, Issued August 2013, P20-570

      Families and living arrangements in the United States have changed over time, just as they have developed distinct regional trends because of factors such as local labor markets and migration patterns. As a result, it is difficult to talk about a single kind of family or one predominant living arrangement in the United States. The goals of this report are to provide an updated picture of the composition of families and households and to describe trends in living arrangements in the United States.1 The report also describes how families and households have changed in recent years, notably during the latest economic recession, which lasted from 2007-2009.2

      This report uses data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS).3 It capitalizes on the strengths of both data sets, using CPS detailed information about family structure and characteristics over time, along with ACS data about how basic family and household characteristics vary across states.4

      The report contains five sections: (1) a review of some data sources for studying family life in the United States; (2) households and living arrangements of adults; (3) family groups; (4) spouses, partners, and couples; and (5) the economic well-being of families before and after the 2007-2009 recession, focusing on children's perspective.

      Some highlights of the report are:

      • Sixty-six percent of households in 2012 were family households, down from 81 percent in 1970.
      • Between 1970 and 2012, the share of households that were married couples with children under 18 halved from 40 percent to 20 percent.
      • The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2012, from 17 percent to 27 percent.
      • Between 1970 and 2012, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to 2.6.
      • Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of men aged 65 and over lived with their spouse compared with less than half (45 percent) of women.
      • Married couples made up most (63 percent) of the family groups with children under the age of 18.
      • Partners in married opposite-sex couples were less likely (4 percent) to be different races than partners in either unmarried opposite-sex couples (9 percent) or same-sex couples (12 percent).5
      • Black children (55 percent) and Hispanic children (31 percent) were more likely to live with one parent than non-Hispanic White children (21 percent) or Asian children (13 percent).6
      • During the latest recession, the percentage of stay-at-home mothers declined and did not return to its prerecession level until 2012.
      • During the latest recession, homeownership among households with their own children under the age of 18 fell by 15 percent. These households saw a 33 percent increase in parental unemployment.
      U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. CENSUS BUREAU
      Data Sources for Studying American Families

      Because the family interacts with many aspects of social life, surveys typically opt for depth over breadth by concentrating data collection on a handful of related family topics. Appendix Table A highlights the variety of data sources available for studying families, households, and living arrangements in the United States.

      The various designs and topics of the surveys provide an array of perspectives for studying America's families and living arrangements. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a panel study that follows the same respondents over time. It collects detailed information on household relationships, assets, and participation in government transfer programs, which researchers can use to study disadvantaged families as well as the living arrangements, support, and economic well-being of children. Other data sources, such as the Early Childhood Longitudinal Studies and National Survey of Adoptive Parents, focus specifically on the cognitive, physical, and mental development of children. The National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth follow the same birth cohort over time, collecting data on educational, family, and work experiences through young adulthood and into middle age, while the Health and Retirement Study follows the life course experiences of older Americans. Other surveys focus on ties between the family and specific experiences such as incarceration and substance abuse (e.g., the Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health).

      This report features data from the ACS and CPS to describe America's families and living arrangements. The ACS provides statistics about the nation's people, housing, and economy at various geographic levels including the nation, state, and county. The CPS collects detailed information about the economic characteristics of households, including employment patterns, work hours, earnings, and worker occupation. Because the survey began in 1940, researchers can use the CPS to examine change in families and households over the last half century.7

      America's Households and Living Arrangements

      Many factors affect the number, type, and size of households. These include patterns of population growth such as fertility and mortality, decisions individuals make about their living arrangements, and changes in social norms, health, and the economy that influence how individuals organize their lives. In turn, individual decisions produce aggregate societal changes in household and family composition. This section of the report highlights several historical changes in America's households and living arrangements:

      • Households and families have gotten smaller over time.
      • Married households tended to be older and made up a smaller share of all households.
      • Living alone has become more widespread as the rising number of one-person households offset the shrinking number of married households with children.
      • The increase in living alone and the decline in married households reflect a rising age at first marriage for men and women.
      In 2011, There Were 56 Million Married-Couple Households and 32 Million One-Person Households (Table 1)

      Table 1. Households by Type and Selected Characteristics: ACS 2011

      The United States had about 115 million households in 2011 (Table 1). Family households numbered 76 million, which included about 56 million married-couple households and 5 million male and 15 million female householders with no spouse present.8 Nonfamily households numbered 39 million and represented one-third of all households in the United States. Of these nonfamily households, 32 million consisted of one person living alone. Twelve million nonfamily households were maintained by individuals 65 years and older.

      Over time, the proportion of households headed by older individuals has increased.9 Twenty-two percent of households in 2011 had a householder 65 or older, up from 20 percent in 2007, when the U.S. Census Bureau last reported on this topic in detail. Householders in married-couple family households also tended to be older than those in other family households (Table 1). In 2011, 41 percent of married-couple family householders were at least 55 years old; in comparison, about 24 percent of other male family householders and 26 percent of other female family householders were in this age range. The difference partly results from the way these families are defined. When a married couple with children becomes empty nesters, they are still counted as a married-couple family. But when children move out of a one-parent family household, a parent living alone is counted as a nonfamily household. Because parents with children still at home tended to be younger, other family householders tended to be younger.

      Fewer Family Households with a Hispanic or Black Householder Were Maintained by a Married Couple (Table 1)

      In 2011, married-couple households made up 81 percent of the family households that an Asian householder maintained and 80 percent that a White, non-Hispanic householder maintained. The corresponding proportion among Hispanic and Black householders was smaller: 62 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Likewise, other family households were more common among Hispanic or Black householders than they were among Asian or non-Hispanic White householders.

      The Share of Households That Married Couples Maintained Has Fallen Since 1970, While the Share of Nonfamily Households Has Increased (Figure 1)

      Figure 1. Households by Type, 1970 to 2012: CPS

      Figure 1 shows households by type from 1970 to 2012. Family households predominated in 1970, when they made up 81 percent of all households. This proportion dropped to around 66 percent by 2012. Note, however, that most of this change occurred between 1970 and 1990. Changes in household type since 1990 have been smaller.

      The most noticeable trend in Figure 1 is the decline of married-couple households with their own children, from 40 percent of households in 1970 to 20 percent in 2012. As of 1970, married couples with children outnumbered married couples without children but by 2012 the opposite was true. Indeed, the number of married couples without children has grown in recent years, from 28 percent of households in 2005 to 29 percent in 2012. This change is likely related to the aging of householders, noted earlier, as well as delays in childbearing.10

      The other family households shown in Figure 1 (families whose householder was living with children or other relatives but had no spouse present) increased from 11 percent of households in 1970 to 18 percent in 2012.11 Since 1992, however, the proportion of households that are one-parent families (included in the other family households category) has stabilized at about 9 percent.12

      The growth in one-person households (people living alone) is responsible for most of the increase in nonfamily households over time—and the corresponding decrease in family households. The proportion of one-person households increased by 10 percentage points between 1970 and 2012 (from 17 percent to 27 percent) compared with an increase of 4 percentage points in other nonfamily households (from 2 percent to 6 percent) during the same period (Figure 1). In 2012, women represented more than half (55 percent) of one-person households, although men have been closing this gap over time.

      More One-Person Households Were Headed by Men Aged 15 to 64 in 2012 Than in 1970 (Figure 2)
      Figure 2. One-Person Households by Age and Sex, 1970 to 2012: CPS

      Figure 2 highlights changes in one-person households, by age and sex, from 1970 to 2012. It shows a decline in the share of older women living alone, which fell by half over the 40-year period, from 20 percent to 10 percent, among 65- to 74-year-old women. The decrease for the oldest women (aged 75 and older) was much smaller, dipping by 1 percent across the same period.

      The share of one-person households maintained by men aged 65 and older did not change between 1970 and 2012. However, one-person households headed by men aged 15 to 64 did rise, from 23 percent in 1970 to 34 percent in 2012. This pattern could result from changes in divorce rates, which increased sharply between 1970 and 1980.13 However, one-person households among women of the same age did not increase between 1970 and 2012. This may be explained by living arrangements following divorce. Because mother-only custody is the dominant living arrangement for children following divorce, men more often than women live alone following a divorce.14

      Households and Families Have Become Smaller Over Time (Figure 3)

      Between 1970 and 2012, the average number of people per household declined from 3.1 to about 2.6.15 But the most profound changes in household size occurred among the largest and smallest households (Figure 3). Households with five or more people decreased by half, from 21 percent to 10 percent of households, between 1970 and 2012 while the share of households with only one or two people increased from 46 percent to 61 percent. Consistent with trends in Figure 1 for household type, changes in more recent decades have been small. There was no significant difference, for example, in households with five or more people between 2005 and 2012.

      Figure 3. Households by Size, 1970 to 2012: CPS
      Multigenerational Households Were Less Common Among White, Non-Hispanic Householders (Table 2)
      Table 2. Multigenerational Households by Race and Hispanic Origin of Reference Person: CPS 2012

      The term multigenerational refers to family households consisting of three or more generations. These include families with either a householder with both a parent and a child, a householder with both a child and grandchild, a householder with both a grandchild and a parent, or a four-generation household (i.e., a householder with a parent, child, and grandchild present). In 2012, multigenerational households made up 5 percent of family households, although this percentage differed by race and Hispanic origin (Table 2).16 Multigenerational households made up 3 percent of family households with a White, non-Hispanic householder compared with 6 percent of those with an Asian reference person and 8 percent of those with a Black or Hispanic reference person.17

      The most common type of multigenerational household was one in which a householder lives with a child and a grandchild (64 percent). This pattern was especially pronounced among multigenerational households with a White, non-Hispanic householder. The next most common type was one in which a householder lives with a child and a parent (34 percent). This pattern was predominant among multigenerational households with an Asian householder.

      Multigenerational Households Were More Likely to Contain Foreign-Born Persons (Table 2)

      Table 2 shows that 79 percent of family households had no foreign-born persons, compared with 68 percent of multigenerational households. Multigenerational households with an Asian or Hispanic householder were substantially more likely to include the foreign-born than those with a White, non-Hispanic or a Black householder. Eighty-nine percent of multigenerational households headed by White, non-Hispanics and 84 percent headed by Blacks contained no foreign-born persons, compared with 29 percent of those with a Hispanic householder and 11 percent with an Asian householder. These patterns are not surprising when considering that half (53 percent) of all foreign-born persons in the United States come from Latin America and the Caribbean, and over one-quarter (28 percent) come from Asia.18

      Multigenerational Households Were More Likely to be in Poverty (Table 2)

      In 2012, 19 percent of multigenerational households were below 100 percent of poverty compared with 12 percent of all family households (Table 2). Poverty was especially pronounced for multigenerational households with a Black (26 percent) or Hispanic reference person (24 percent).19 Forming a multigenerational household may be a strategy for coping with poverty and could offer a financial safety net for some families.20

      Women Aged 25 to 34 Were More Likely to Live with a Spouse Than Men Were; Men in This Age Group Were More Likely Than Women Were to Live Alone or in Their Parents' Home (Table 3)
      Table 3. Living Arrangements of Younger and Older Adults by Age: CPS 2012

      The last part of this section discusses the living arrangements of men and women and of younger and older adults (Table 3 and Figure 4). Gender differences in the age at first marriage and cohabitation drive the living arrangements of young men and women. Table 3 shows that 59 percent (9 million) of men 18 to 24 years old lived in their parents' home in 2012, compared with 51 percent (7.6 million) of women the same age.21 It is important to note that the CPS counts students living in dormitories as living in their parents' home.22 In contrast, women 18 to 24 years old were more likely to live with a spouse or unmarried partner. Among this age group of young adults, 11 percent of women and 6 percent of men were married and living with their spouse. An additional 12 percent of women and 8 percent of men cohabited with an unmarried partner. These differences reflect a trend in which women typically marry at younger ages than men do.23

      Figure 4. Young Adults Living in Their Parents' Home, 1960 to 2012: Census and CPS

      This gender pattern was also present at older ages. Although living with a spouse was the most prevalent type of living arrangement among 25- to 34-year-olds, a greater proportion of women in this age group lived with a spouse than men (48 percent versus 40 percent, respectively). And although some 25- to 34-year-olds were living in their parents' home, this arrangement was more common among men than women (16 percent versus 10 percent).

      Men Aged 65 or Older Were More Likely to Live with Their Spouse; Women in This Age Group Were More Likely to Live Alone (Table 3)

      Differences in living arrangements among older adults most likely reflect women's longer life expectancy, their higher rate of widowhood, and lower rate of remarriage.24 Shown in Table 3, older men were more likely to live with their spouse while older women were more likely to live alone. For example, 36 percent of women 65 and over lived alone, compared with only 19 percent of men.

      Table 3 highlights some notable differences among older adults as well. Living with one's spouse was more common for 65- to 74-year-old men and women than it was for adults aged 75 or older. For example, 75 percent of men and 56 percent of women aged 65 to 74 resided with their spouse, compared with 68 percent of men and only 32 percent of women who were aged 75 or older.

      Fewer Women 65 and Over Lived Alone in 2012 Than in 2003 (Table 3)

      Consistent with trends shown in Figure 2, the percentage of women aged 65 or older who lived alone declined between 2003 and 2012, from 40 percent to 36 percent.25 During the same period, the percentage of older women who lived with a spouse rose from 41 percent to 45 percent. Nonetheless, the share of men in this age group who lived alone or with a spouse did not change during this period. These trends likely reflect the gradually closing gap between male and female life expectancy.26

      More Men and Women Aged 18 to 34 Lived in Their Parents' Home in 2012 Than in the Early 2000s (Figure 4)

      Figure 4 shows the percentage of young adults who lived in their parents' home between 1960 and 2012. Between 2000 and 2012, the trend has been for a rising share of young adult men and women to live in their parents' home, among both 18- to 24-year-olds and 25- to 34-year-olds. This living arrangement was much more common among 18- to 24-year-olds than among the older group of young adults. These trends in young adult living arrangements follow a broader pattern in the United States in which young adults are experiencing the traditional markers of adulthood, such as starting a family, leaving their parents' home, and establishing stable careers, later in life than previous recent generations did.27 Importantly, the CPS, but not the decennial census, counts students living in dormitories as living in their parents' home. A nontrivial number of young adults were enrolled in college or graduate school: 43 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds.28 This difference in survey design helps account for the apparent increase in this living arrangement between 1980 (decennial census data) and 1983 (CPS data).

      America's Families

      The family is a vital institution in American society and serves as a major source of support and socialization for individuals, especially children. The CPS can identify family units regardless of whether they include the householder. For example, if a mother and child live in the home of the mother's parents, then the mother and her child are considered a separate family group. This section of the report highlights several trends in America's families and family groups:

      • Married families tended to be economically advantaged compared with other families, but the economic well-being of all families has worsened since 2007.
      • Married families were still the most common family arrangement and tended to be prevalent in the Plains States, Midwest, and West.
      Married Family Groups Have Declined Over Time but Remained the Most Common Type of Family Group Regardless of Race or Hispanic Origin (Table 4)
      Table 4. Family Groups by Race and Hispanic Origin of Reference Person: CPS 2012

      Married couples, especially those with children under the age of 18, have made up a declining share of family groups over time, while other family groups have become more common (Table 4). In 2012, 71 percent of family groups were married couples, down from 74 percent in 2003.29 Of these married couples, 40 percent had children under the age of 18, down from 45 percent in 2003.30 Both the absolute number and relative size of all other types of family groups, except for unmarried mothers, have increased since 2007.31 These groups include unmarried-parent couples,32 unmarried fathers with children under the age of 18, and householders who live with other relatives.

      Table 4 shows that the most common family group was married couples, regardless of race or Hispanic origin. The distribution of family groups varied depending on the race and Hispanic origin of the family reference person, however. Married family groups, for example, were more common among Whites and Asians (76 percent and 79 percent, respectively) than Blacks or Hispanics (43 percent and 61 percent, respectively). Blacks had the highest percentage of mother-only family groups and householders living with other relatives (29 percent and 22 percent, respectively), followed by Hispanics (18 percent and 14 percent, respectively). Unmarried-parent couples were most common among Hispanics, at 5 percent. Since 2007, householders living with other relatives have increased across all racial and ethnic groups; they now make up a larger share of family groups than they did 5 years ago.

      The Percentage of Mother-Only and Father-Only Family Groups Increased Since 2007 (Table 5)

      Table 5 details characteristics of the nearly 39 million family groups with children under 18 years old and highlights three noteworthy trends. First, married parents were economically advantaged compared with other family groups with children under the age of 18. Second, father-only family groups were in better economic standing than mother-only family groups. And third, the economic welfare of all family groups with children under the age of 18 declined since 2007.

      Overall, married couples made up the majority of family groups with children under the age of 18 (63 percent). This percentage decreased since 2007, however, when they made up 67 percent of family groups with children. Across the same period, the percentage of mother-only family groups rose from 25 to 27 percent while that of unmarried couples with children and father-only family groups each rose from 4 to 5 percent.

      Married Parents Were the Most Economically Advantaged of All the Family Groups with Children Under the Age of 18 (Table 5)

      The economic advantage of married families is consistent with research showing that marriage is associated with greater wealth.33 Married parents were more likely to be college educated and to be homeowners compared with unmarried parents and with mother-only and father-only families.34 Nine percent of married-family groups were living below the poverty level and 9 percent were receiving food stamps compared with 4 times as many mother-only families who were living below poverty or receiving food stamps.

      Not all one-parent family groups were similarly disadvantaged. Father-only groups were in better economic standing than mother-only groups, evidenced by their better educational attainment, higher rates of employment and homeownership, and lower rates of food stamp receipt (Table 5). Roughly 19 percent of these single fathers had a bachelor's degree, compared with 17 percent of the single mothers. Furthermore, over half (57 percent) of the father-only groups were homeowners, compared with 38 percent of the mother-only groups.

      Table 5. Family Groups With Children Under 181 by Selected Characteristics: CPS 2012

      One reason for these differences is that the fathers were older than the mothers, which reflects a common route to single parenthood for men and women in the United States. Most fathers who become single parents do so through divorce whereas single mothers are more often never married. Table 6 shows that of all the children who lived with their father only, 44 percent had a divorced father but 47 percent of children who lived with their mother only had a never-married mother.35

      Table 6. One-Parent Family Groups by Sex and Selected Characteristics: CPS 2012
      The Share of One-Parent Family Groups That Fathers Maintained Rose from 10 to 17 Percent between 1980 and 2012 (Table 6)

      Table 6 reinforces the finding that one-parent family groups were concentrated in the South, as was shown in Figure 6. The table also reveals that regional variation depends on the parent's race and Hispanic origin. For example, Asian and Hispanic one-parent family groups lived predominantly in the West, while Black one-parent groups lived predominantly in the South. These patterns most likely reflect historical trends in residence and migration across the United States.36Table 6 also shows differences between father-only and mother-only family groups. For example, children in father-only family groups were more likely to live with the parent's cohabiting partner than children in mother-only family groups. In addition, more mother-only family groups had young children, under the age of 6, in the household as father-only family groups.

      Married Households with Their Own Children Under the Age of 18 Were More Prevalent in the Plains States, Midwest, and West (Figure 5)
      Figure 5. Percentage of Households With Own Children Under 18, That Are Married-Couple Households for the United States: ACS 2011

      Following national trends in America's families, Figures 57 show geographic differences in the prevalence of family households. Research has shown that regional variations in married and unmarried households are related to the job opportunities of men and women and the availability of potential mates in a given area.37

      Figure 5 shows the percentage of U.S. households with children under the age of 18 that married couples maintained (67 percent) and whether the estimate for each state was above or below the national average. The figure shows distinct regional differences. States with a percentage of married-parent households that was below the national estimate were concentrated near the Great Lakes and in the South and Southwest. These households were more prevalent in the Plains States, West, and parts of the Midwest. Washington, DC, had the lowest share (42 percent) while Utah had the highest (79 percent).

      One-parent Households with Children Under the Age of 18 Were More Prevalent in States Near the Great Lakes and in the South and Southwest (Figure 6)

      Figure 6 forms nearly a mirror image of the previous figure. States with the smallest shares of married-parent households typically had the highest shares of one-parent households. States with percentages of one-parent households that were higher than the national estimate were concentrated near the Great Lakes and in the South and parts of the Southwest. States with the smallest shares included Utah (18 percent), Hawaii (20 percent), and Minnesota (20 percent).38 Places with the largest shares included Washington, DC (49 percent), Mississippi (36 percent), and Louisiana (34 percent).

      In addition to married parents and single parents, children may live in a household with two unmarried parents (Figure 7).39 Although one-parent households were concentrated in the South (Figure 6), unmarried parents living with an unmarried partner were concentrated in the West and Southwest. States with estimates that were higher than the national average included Alaska (11 percent), Maine (11 percent), New Mexico (11 percent), and Wyoming (10 percent).40 States with the lowest percentages included Utah (4 percent), Arkansas (5 percent), and Alabama (5 percent).41

      America's Spouses, Partners, and Couples

      Intimate relationships form an integral element of adult life and are an important source of support and well-being. Indeed, about 86 percent of young men and 89 percent of young women are projected to marry at some point in their lives.42 This report looks at three kinds of couples: (1) married spouses who are of the opposite sex, (2) unmarried couples living together who are of the opposite sex, and (3) same-sex couples who are either married or living together unmarried. This section highlights several trends in America's spouses, partners, and couples:

      • Cohabitation has rapidly expanded in recent decades, led primarily by changes in young adults' living arrangements.
      • Married parents were older, better educated, and had higher earnings than cohabiting parents.
      • Interracial relationships were more common among opposite-sex cohabiters and same-sex couples than among opposite-sex married couples.
      • Married couples with children overwhelmingly had only their joint biological children in the household, as did a majority of cohabiting parents.
      Figure 6. Percentage of Households With Own Children Under 18 That Are Single-Parent Households for the United States: ACS 2011

      Statistics in Table 7 suggest that cohabitation was more prevalent during young adulthood, while marriage was more prevalent later in adulthood, a fact that Table 3 also reinforced by showing the living arrangements of younger and older adults. For example, over half of cohabiting men and women (51 percent and 57 percent, respectively) were 34 years old or younger, compared with less than one-fifth of married men and women (15 percent and 19 percent, respectively).

      Table 7. Characteristics of Male-Female Unmarried Partners and Spouses by Sex: CPS 2012
      Over One-Third of Married Men and Women Had a Bachelor's Degree, Compared with About One-Fifth of Cohabiting Men and Women (Table 7)

      Overall, married men and women were better educated—over one-third had a bachelor's degree—than their cohabiting counterparts, about one-fifth of whom had a bachelor's degree (Table 7). However, women were better educated than men among cohabiters, a pattern that did not exist among spouses. About 55 percent of female cohabiters had some college or a bachelor's degree, compared with 46 percent of male cohabiters. Some researchers argue that women may be more willing to cohabit with than to marry a man who has less education than she does.43

      Table 7 shows that being employed was more common among cohabiters than spouses, although this difference did not necessarily translate into better economic standing. About 66 percent of female cohabiters were employed, compared with 56 percent of female spouses. And 75 percent of male cohabiters were employed, compared with 71 percent of male spouses. Nonetheless, the percentage of men and women earning at least $50,000 was higher among the married: 37 percent of male spouses and 16 percent of female spouses earned at least $50,000, compared with 21 percent of male cohabiters and 12 percent of female cohabiters. One reason for the discrepancy in employment is that spouses are older than cohabiters. Thus a higher proportion of married individuals may be retired and out of the labor force.44

      Figure 7 Percentage of Households With Own Children Under 18 That Are Unmarried-Partner Households for the United States: ACS 2011

      In economic terms cohabiters are faring worse today than they were a decade ago. Although the percentage of female cohabiters with a bachelor's degree increased in the last decade, the percentage who were employed and had earnings declined. About 18 percent of male cohabiters and 27 percent of female cohabiters had no earnings in 2012, up from 11 percent and 20 percent respectively in 2003.45

      Married Parents Were Older and Better Educated Than Cohabiting Parents (Table 7)

      In general, the patterns observed for cohabiting partners and spouses also extended to parents, but cohabiting parents tended to be very young. About 23 percent of cohabiting women and 13 percent of cohabiting men who had children under the age of 18 were between 15 and 24 years old; the corresponding figures for male and female spouses were 2 percent and 4 percent, respectively. Married parents were also better educated. For example, 40 percent of married women with children under the age of 18 had a bachelor's degree, compared with 12 percent of their cohabiting counterparts.

      The Majority of Spouses in Opposite-Sex Married Couples Were Married to Someone within 5 Years of Their Own Age (Table 8)
      Table 8. Characteristics of Male-Female Unmarried and Married Couples: CPS 2012

      People commonly marry someone who has similar characteristics as themselves. For example, college-educated people tend to marry other college-educated people, and members of one race tend to marry someone of the same race.46Tables 8 and 9 look at the three kinds of couples detailed in this study and ask how similar spouses and partners are to each other.47

      Table 9. Characteristics of Same-Sex Couple Households: ACS 2011

      Opposite-sex spouses were the most similar in age. About three-quarters (77 percent) had spouses whose ages were within 5 years of one another compared with two-thirds (68 percent) of opposite-sex cohabiters and 60 percent of same-sex couples. Same-sex couples were less similar in age: one-fifth of the couples (21 percent) had a partner who was at least 10 years older than the other, twice as high as opposite-sex married couples. This pattern differed by gender: about 25 percent of male same-sex couples had one partner at least 10 years older, compared with 18 percent of female same-sex couples. Same-sex couples face more restricted dating pools than opposite-sex couples, which may explain their wider age gaps between partners.48

      Interracial and Interethnic Couples Were Least Common Among Opposite-Sex Spouses (Tables 8 and 9)

      In this report, the term interracial refers to couples where one partner is a different race than the other partner; interethnic refers to couples where one partner is Hispanic and the other is non-Hispanic. Interracial marriages among opposite-sex couples were relatively rare. Relationships in which both partners were the same race were the most prevalent among opposite-sex spouses, at 96 percent. This figure compared with 91 percent of opposite-sex cohabiting couples and 88 percent of same-sex couples.49 Interethnic couples were equally rare among opposite-sex spouses: just 4 percent had one Hispanic and one non-Hispanic spouse. The corresponding figures for opposite-sex cohabiters and same-sex couples were over twice as high, at 9 percent and 10 percent respectively.

      More Same-Sex Couples Had Two College-Educated Partners Than Opposite-Sex Married Couples (Tables 8 and 9)

      Same-sex couples had the highest share (31 percent) of unions in which both partners had a bachelor's degree, followed by opposite-sex married couples (24 percent) and opposite-sex cohabiting couples (12 percent).

      Eighty-Seven Percent of Married Parents with Children Under 18 Had Only Biological Children of Both Spouses Present, Compared with 51 Percent of Cohabiting Couples (Table 8).50

      Equal shares of opposite-sex cohabiters (41 percent) and opposite-sex spouses (40 percent) had children under the age of 18 present in the household. Far fewer same-sex couples (16 percent) had children under the age of 18 present. Among opposite-sex parents, however, almost 9 in 10 spouses had children who were the biological offspring of both spouses, compared with only 51 percent of cohabiting parents. Over one-third of these cohabiting couples (38 percent) had children who were the offspring of only one partner. Thus, more cohabiting adults lived with children who were not biologically related to them than did married spouses.51 Among same-sex unions children were far more prevalent in female than male couples. Of all the same-sex couples who had children under the age of 18 in the household, 70 percent were female-female couples, and 30 percent were male-male couples.

      Family Economic Well-Being and the 2007–2009 Recession

      This section of the report focuses on changes in children's living arrangements and economic well-being around the most recent recession, which began in December 2007 and officially ended in June 2009. The welfare of children concerns parents, policymakers, and researchers alike because social, economic, and developmental experiences during childhood may have lasting consequences through adulthood and later life.52 This section highlights several trends in children's living arrangements and family economic well-being during the recession:

      • Children living with two married parents resided in the most economically advantaged households, compared with children living in other family arrangements.
      • The share of children living with one parent varied widely by race and Hispanic origin.
      • The economic well-being of households with children declined during the recession, evidenced by a drop in homeownership and rise in unemployment rates among households with children.
      • The percentage of stay-at-home mothers declined during the recession and did not return to its prerecession level until 2012.
      The Majority of Children in the United States Lived with Two Married Parents (Table 10)
      Table 10. Children's Economic Situation by Family Structure: CPS 20121

      The most common family arrangement for the 74 million children in the United States in 2012 was living with two married parents (64 percent) (Table 10). This arrangement was less common than it was a decade ago, when 69 percent of children lived with two married parents.53 Living with their mother only (24 percent) was the next most common arrangement in 2012. Together, these two arrangements described the living situation of almost 9 in 10 children in the United States (88 percent). The remaining 12 percent of children were split fairly evenly among three other types of living arrangements: two unmarried parents, father only, and no parents.54

      Children Living with Two Married Parents Typically Resided in Economically Advantaged Households (Table 10)

      Seventy percent of the children who lived with two married parents were in households that were at least 200 percent above the poverty level (Table 10). But nearly 1 in 2 children who lived with their mother only, two unmarried parents, or no parents at all were living below the poverty level.55 Children living in these other family arrangements were also more likely than those living with two married parents to receive public assistance and food stamps, and to lack health insurance coverage.

      This is not to say that marriage ensures economic security for children. Of the 16 million children who lived below the poverty level, 31 percent lived with two married parents—a share that is statistically unchanged compared with 2002. What is more, the percentage receiving food stamps more than doubled since 2002, from 4 percent to 11 percent, showing that children with two married parents were also vulnerable to economic distress.

      Indeed, the economic welfare of family groups with children under the age of 18 has deteriorated since the latest recession began in 2007. Even 3 years after its official end in 2009, well-being has remained lower than it was before the recession began. For example, more family groups of all types were receiving food stamps in 2012 than in 2007 (Table 5). For married family groups, the share receiving food stamps more than doubled during this 5-year period, from 4 percent to 9 percent,56 while the share of unmarried-couple parents increased from 21 percent to 33 percent, mother-only family groups increased from 28 percent to 39 percent, and father-only family groups increased from 11 percent to 19 percent.

      Twenty-Eight Percent of Children in the United States Lived with One Parent (Figure 8)

      Approximately 21 million children—or about 28 percent of children in the United States—lived with one parent in 2012 (Table 10). This percentage varied depending on the child's race and Hispanic origin, however. Figure 8 shows that Asian children had the smallest proportion that lived with one parent, at 13 percent. In contrast, approximately 1 in 5 White, non-Hispanic children (21 percent); 1 in 3 Hispanic children (31 percent); and 1 in 2 Black children (55 percent) lived with one parent. Again, except for Asian children, the percentage of children who lived with the boyfriend or girlfriend of their unmarried parent was not statistically different across racial and ethnic groups.

      The Percentage of Stay-at-Home Mothers Declined During the Recession and Did Not Return to Its Prerecession Level Until 2012 (Figure 9)

      This report defines stay-at-home parents as those who had a spouse in the labor force all 52 weeks last year while they were out of the labor force during the same period to care for home and family.57 Estimates of stay-at-home parents caring for children under 15 are based not on the parents' activities as childcare providers but on their labor force status and the primary reason why they were not in the labor force during the previous 52 weeks. This labor force based measure is derived from the CPS ASEC and allows for consistent measurement of stay-at-home parent families over time.58

      Figure 9 shows that a decline in stay-at-home mothers produced an overall decrease in stay-at-home parents during the recession; the percentage of married fathers who stayed at home did not change. Before the recession began in 2007, roughly 24 percent of married mothers with children under the age of 15 were stay-at-home parents. This percentage did not drop until 2009 but then remained below prerecession levels through 2011. The percentage of married mothers who were stay-at-home parents returned to its prerecession level by 2012.59

      Overall, the percentage of married fathers who were stay-at-home parents has been quite small, under 1 percent (Figure 9). Between 2006 and 2010, that percentage remained unchanged. Beginning in 2011 and 2012, however, the percentage of married fathers who were stay-at-home parents increased slightly (0.8 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively) compared with its level in 2007, before the recession began (0.7 percent).60

      Disproportionately higher unemployment rates for men during the recession and the prolonged jobless recovery may underlie the rise in stay-at-home fathers and the decline in stay-at-home mothers.61 Research has found that in response to their husband's job loss during a recession, wives tended to enter or return to the labor force. Indeed, over the last 3 decades the single largest 1-year increase in a wife's contribution to family earnings occurred between 2008 and 2009.62

      Homeownership Among Households with Children Fell by 15 Percent Nationally between 2005 and 2011 (Figure 10)

      Table 5 showed that the proportion of homeowners among all family groups with children under 18 declined between 2007 and 2012. Trends in homeownership and unemployment varied geographically because the recession affected states differently. Based on Figure 10, children living in the Plains States may have fared better during the recession than children living elsewhere in the Midwest or in the West, at least in terms of homeownership. Between 2005 and 2011, the number of households with children under the age of 18 that owned a home fell by 15 percent nationally (Figure 10). In some states the decline was steeper, in particular California (–22 percent) and Arizona (–22 percent) in the West and Michigan (–23 percent), Ohio (–20 percent), and Illinois (–18 percent) in the Midwest. Along with New York (–17 percent), Florida (–19 percent), and New Hampshire (–19 percent), these states witnessed greater declines than the national average in homeownership rates among households with children under 18.63

      Figure 8. Children Living With One Parent by Race and Hispanic Origin: CPS 2012
      Households with at least one unemployed parent rose by one-third nationally between 2005 and 2011 (Figure 11)
      Figure 9 Percentage of Married-Couple Family Groups With Children Under 15 With a Stay-at-Home Parent by Sex, 2005 to 2012: CPS

      Between 2005 and 2011, the number of households with children under 18 that had at least one unemployed parent rose by one-third (33 percent) across the United States (Figure 11). States experiencing a larger than average increase included Hawaii (95 percent), California (61 percent), Nevada (148 percent), and Colorado (56 percent) in the West and Florida (93 percent), North Carolina (54 percent), New Jersey (63 percent), and Connecticut (65 percent) in the East.64 Some of the states with steep declines in homeownership also witnessed a larger rise than the national average in unemployment rates, notably California and Florida. Not all of the states overlapped with the ones that saw a decline in homeownership, however. Although homeownership declined in Michigan, Ohio, New York, and New Hampshire, households with children in these states saw a smaller than average increase in parental unemployment. It is helpful to remember that these maps do not represent all households in the United States, but only those with children under the age of 18.


      This report uses data from the 2012 Current Population Survey and the 2011 American Community Survey to describe trends in living arrangements and the composition of families and households in the United States. The report highlights the complexity and variety of contemporary families and living arrangements and also illustrates how they have changed over time.

      Over the last few decades the trend in the United States has been toward smaller households, fewer family and married-couple households, and more people living alone, especially at older ages. Although married families tend to be economically better off than other families, the economic well-being of all family types worsened on average during the 2007–2009 recession and in the years since its official end. These trends showcase the importance of collecting detailed demographic and economic information about how the shape of America's families and households are changing over time.

      Figure 10 Percentage Change in Households With Own Children Under 18 That Do Not Own a Home for the United States, 2005 to 2011: ACS
      Source of the Data

      The data in this report are from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the 2012 Current Population Survey (CPS) and the 2011 American Community Survey (ACS). The population represented (the population universe) in the ASEC is the civilian noninstitutionalized population living in the United States. Members of the Armed Forces living off post or with their families on post are included if at least one civilian adult lives in the household. The institutionalized population, which is excluded from the population universe, is composed primarily of the population in adult correctional institutions and nursing facilities (94 percent of the 4.0 million institutionalized people in the 2010 Census).65 Most of the data from the ASEC were collected in March (with some data collected in February and April), and the data were controlled to independent population estimates for March 2012. For annual time series from the CPS, data collected in the 2012 ASEC may be compared with data collected in the March Supplement to the CPS in prior years.

      This report also presents data from the 2011 ACS. The population represented (the population universe) in the ACS is the population living in both households and group quarters—that is, the resident population. The group quarters population consists of the institutionalized population (such as people in correctional institutions or nursing homes) and the noninstitutionalized population (most of whom are in college dormitories). For tabulation purposes in this report, ACS data are shown only for the population living in households since relationship data are not collected for the group quarters population.

      Figure 11 Percentage Change in Households With Own Children Under 18 With an Unemployed Parent for the United States, 2005 to 2011: ACS
      Accuracy of the Estimates

      Statistics from surveys are subject to sampling and nonsampling error. All comparisons presented in this report have taken sampling error into account and are significant at the 90 percent confidence level, unless otherwise indicated. This means the 90 percent confidence interval for the difference between the estimates being compared does not include zero. Nonsampling errors in surveys may be attributed to a variety of sources, such as how the survey is designed, how respondents interpret questions, how able and willing respondents are to provide correct answers, and how accurately the answers are coded and classified. The Census Bureau employs quality control procedures throughout the production process—including overall survey design, question wording, review of interviewers' and coders' work, and statistical review of reports—to minimize these errors.

      The CPS weighting procedure uses ratio estimation, whereby sample estimates are adjusted to independent estimates of the national population by age, race, sex, and Hispanic origin. This weighting partially corrects for bias due to undercoverage, but biases may still be present; for example, when people who are missed by the survey differ from those interviewed in ways other than age, race, sex, and Hispanic origin. How this weighting procedure affects other variables in the survey is not precisely known. All of these considerations affect comparisons across different surveys or data sources.

      For further information on statistical standards and the computation and use of standard errors, go to <> or contact the Census Bureau's Demographic Statistical Methods Division via e-mail at <>.

      The final ACS population estimates are adjusted in the weighting procedure for coverage error by controlling specific survey estimates to independent population controls by age, race, sex, and Hispanic origin. The final ACS estimates of housing units are controlled to independent estimates of total housing. This weighting partially corrects for bias due to over or undercoverage, but biases may still be present; for example, when people who are missed by the survey differ from those interviewed in ways other than age, race, sex, and Hispanic origin. How this weighting procedure affects other variables in the survey is not precisely known. All of these considerations affect comparisons across different surveys or data sources.

      For further information on the ACS sample, weighting procedures, sampling error, nonsampling error, and quality measures from the ACS, see <>.

      More Information

      Detailed tables from the 2012 Annual Social and Economic supplement to the CPS are available on the Internet at the Census Bureau's Web site at <>. To access ACS tables about households and families, see American FactFinder on the Census Bureau's Web site at <>.

      Suggested Citation

      Jonathan Vespa, Jamie M. Lewis, and Rose M. Kreider, 2013, America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, Current Population Reports, P20-570, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.


      For additional information on these topics, contact the authors of this report:

      Jonathan Vespa:

      Jamie Lewis:

      Rose Kreider:

      Fertility and Family Statistics Branch: 301-763-2416

      Table A. Summary of National Surveys for Studying Families, Households, and Living Arrangements in the United States

      Table B. Margins of Error1 for Table 1 Estimates—Households by Type and Selected Characteristics: ACS 2011

      1 The 8.0 million people living in group quarters (rather than households) in 2011, 2.8 percent of whom were under the age of 18, are not included in this report. See Table S2601A accessible on American FactFinder at <>.

      2 For periods of recession in the United States, see the National Bureau of Economic Research, <>. The most recent recession began December 2007 and ended June 2009.

      3 The data in this report are from the CPS ASEC, collected in February, March, and April of 2012 and earlier supplements, and the 2011 ACS. The CPS represents the civilian noninstitutionalized population living in the United States, and the ACS represents the population in households.

      4 For more details on the ACS, including its sample size and questions, see <>. Further information on the CPS is available at <>.

      For a comparison of households and families estimates in ACS and CPS, see Martin O'Connell and Gretchen Gooding, 2005, “Comparison of ACS and ASEC Data on Households and Families: 2004,” Census Bureau Working Paper accessible online at <>.

      5 Note that unmarried opposite-sex couples were not statistically different from same-sex couples.

      6 Federal surveys now give respondents the option of reporting more than one race. Therefore, two basic ways of defining a race group are possible. A group such as Asian may be defined as those who reported Asian and no other race (the race-alone or single-race concept) or as those who reported Asian regardless of whether they also reported another race (the race-alone-or-in- combination concept). The body of this report (text, figures, and tables) shows data using the first approach (race alone). Use of the single-race population does not imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data. The Census Bureau uses a variety of approaches. For further information, see the 2010 Census Brief, “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010” (C2010BR-02) at <>. This report will refer to the White-alone population as White, the Black-alone population as Black, the Asian-alone population as Asian, and the White-alone-non-Hispanic population as White, non-Hispanic. Because Hispanics may be any race, data in this report for Hispanics overlap with data for racial groups. Based on the 2012 CPS ASEC, 19 percent of the White population was Hispanic, as was 7 percent of the Black population, 4 percent of Asians, and 23 percent of others who reported only one race. Since the ACS sample is much larger than the CPS, we are able to show additional categories for race groups in Table 1.

      7 For more information on the history of the CPS, see Chapter 2 of Technical Paper 66 at < 66 chapter 2 history.pdf>.

      8 The estimates in this report (which may be shown in text, figures, and tables) are based on responses from a sample of the population and may differ from actual values because of sampling variability or other factors. As a result, apparent differences between the estimates for two or more groups may not be statistically significant. All comparative statements have undergone statistical testing and are significant at the 90 percent confidence level unless otherwise noted.

      9 See Table 1, Rose M. Kreider and Diana Elliott, 2009, “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2007,” Current Population Reports, P20-561, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      10 Between 1970 and 2006, the average age of first-time mothers increased from 21.4 years to 25.0 years. See T. J. Mathews and Brady E. Hamilton, 2009, “Delayed Childbearing: More Women are having their First Child Later in Life,” NCHS Data Brief, No. 21, National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD.

      11 Although a spouse is not present, an unmarried partner of the parent may or may not be present.

      12 See historical Tables HH-1 and FM-1, accessible on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site at <> and <>. Although the proportion of one-parent families remained around 9 percent throughout this period, the 2012 value is significantly higher than in 2008 through 2010, 2000 through 2005, and 1992 through 1993.

      13 See Joshua R. Goldstein, 1999, “The Leveling of Divorce in the United States,” Demography, 36:409–414.

      14 See Maria Cancian and Daniel R. Meyer, 1998, “Who Gets Custody?” Demography, 35:147–157.

      15 See historical Tables HH-4 and HH-6, accessible on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site at <> and <>.

      16 The comparable figure from the ACS was 6 percent. See Tables B11017 and B11001, accessible on American FactFinder at <> and <>.

      17 The share of family households that were multigenerational did not differ statistically for Black and Hispanic householders.

      18 See Elizabeth M. Grieco et al., 2012, “The Foreign-Born Population in the United States: 2010,” American Community Survey Reports, ACS-19, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      19 The share of multigenerational households in poverty did not differ statistically between those with a Black and Hispanic householder.

      20 See Rakesh Kochhar and D'Vera Cohn, 2011, “Fighting Poverty in a Tough Economy, Americans Move in with their Relatives,” Pew Research Center, Washington, DC, <>.

      21 For more information on young adults living at home, see Laryssa Mykyta and Suzanne Macartney, 2012, “Sharing a Household: Household Composition and Economic Well-Being: 2007–2010,” Current Population Reports, P60-242, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC. See also, Rose M. Kreider, 2007, “Young Adults Living in their Parents' Home,” a working paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York, NY, August 11–14, 2007, <>.

      22 Estimates from ACS data show that about 7.8 percent of young adults aged 18 to 24 lived in college/university housing. See Tables S2601B and B01001, accessible on American FactFinder at <> and <>.

      23 In 2012, the median age at first marriage was 28.6 for men and 26.6 for women. See historical Table MS-2, accessible on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site at <>.

      24 See Elizabeth Arias, 2012, “United States Life Tables, 2008,” National Vital Statistics Reports, 61(3), National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD.

      25 See Table 7, Jason Fields, 2003, “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003,” Current Population Reports, P20-553, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      26 Between 1996 and 2008, the male-female gap in life expectancy at birth narrowed from 6 to 5 years. See Robert N. Anderson, 1998, “United States Abridged Life Tables, 1996,” National Vital Statistics Reports, 47(13), National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD; Elizabeth Arias, 2012, “United States Life Tables, 2008,” National Vital Statistics Reports, 61(3), National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD.

      27 Francis Goldscheider and Calvin Goldscheider, 1999, “The Changing Transition to Adulthood: Leaving and Returning Home,” Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; Maria Lacovou, 2002, “Regional Differences in the Transition to Adulthood,” Annals of the American Academy of Political Social Science, 580:40–69; Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, 2007, “Emerging Adulthood: What is it and what is it Good for?” Child Development Perspectives, 1:68–73.

      28 See Table B14004, accessible on American FactFinder at <>.

      29 See Table 3, Jason Fields, 2003, “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003,” Current Population Reports, P20-553, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      30 See Table 3, Jason Fields, 2003, “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003,” Current Population Reports, P20-553, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      31 See Table 2, Rose M. Kreider and Diana Elliott, 2009, “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2007,” Current Population Reports, P20-561, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      32 CPS data can better identify these groups in 2007–2012 than in 2003. Beginning in 2007, the CPS added a direct question to measure cohabitation. See Rose M. Kreider, 2008, “Improvements to Demographic Household Data in the Current Population Survey: 2007,” <>.

      33 See, for example, Daniel Schneider, 2011, “Wealth and the Marital Divide,” American Journal of Sociology, 177:627–667. See also, Jonathan Vespa and Matthew A. Painter II, 2011, “Cohabitation History, Marriage, and Wealth Accumulation,” Demography, 48:983–1004, Scholars have found both that wealthier people are more likely to marry and married people accumulate more wealth.

      34 Note that the share of unmarried parents who were homeowners was not significantly different from the share of mother-only families who were homeowners.

      35 See Table C3 accessible on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site at <>.

      36 See Karen R. Humes et al., 2011, “Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010,” 2010 Census Brief, C2010BR-02, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      37 See, for example, Daniel T. Lichter et al., 1991, “Local Marriage Markets and the Marital Behavior of Black and White Women,” American Journal of Sociology, 96:843–867; R. Kelly Raley, 1996, “A Shortage of Marriageable Men? A Note on the Role of Cohabitation in Black-White Differences in Marriage Rates,” American Sociological Review, 61:973–983; and Scott J. South and Kim M. Lloyd, 1992, “Marriage Opportunities and Family Formation: Further Implications of Imbalanced Sex Ratios,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 54:440–451.

      38 The proportion of one-parent households did not differ statistically for Utah versus Hawaii or Minnesota versus Hawaii.

      39 In ACS data, only the relationship to householder is collected, so we cannot determine whether the unmarried partner of the householder is also the parent of the householder's child.

      40 Although all of these states had a high proportion of unmarried-parent households compared with the United States overall, they do not differ statistically from one another.

      41 The percentage of unmarried-parent households did not differ statistically for Arkansas versus Alabama.

      42 See Table 11, Rose M. Kreider and Jason Fields, 2002, “Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 1996,” Current Population Reports, P70-80, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      43 See Zhenchao Qian, 1998, “Changes in Assortative Mating: The Impact of Age and Education, 1970–1990,” Demography, 35:279–292.

      44 Note, however, that the percentage of married men who were not in the labor force did not statistically differ from the percentage of cohabiting women who were not in the labor force.

      45 See Table 8, Jason Fields, 2003, “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003,” Current Population Reports, P20-553, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      46 Debra Blackwell and Daniel T. Lichter, 2005, “Homogamy among Dating, Cohabiting, and Married Couples,” The Sociological Quarterly, 45:719–737; Christine R. Schwartz and Robert D. Mare, 2005, “Trends in Educational Assortative Marriage from 1940 to 2003,” Demography, 42:621–646; and Zhenchao Qian, 1998, “Changes in Assortative Mating: The Impact of Age and Education, 1970–1990,” Demography, 35:279–292.

      47 Here, we show all same-sex couples as a group, rather than distinguish between same-sex married and unmarried couples. In the 2011 ACS, about 1 percent of all coupled households in the United States reported as same-sex couples, totaling about 605,000 households. About 28 percent reported themselves as spouses. See Tables 1 and 3 accessible on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site at <>. For more information on same-sex couples, see also, Daphne Lofquist, 2011, “Same-Sex Couple Households,” American Community Survey Brief, ACSBR/10-03, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      48 See Michael J. Rosenfeld and Reuben J. Thomas, 2012, “Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary,” American Sociological Review, 77:523–547; and Michael J. Rosenfeld, 2007, “The Age of Independence: Interracial Unions, Same-Sex Unions, and the Changing American Family,” Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

      49 Note that the percentage of opposite-sex cohabiters who were in an interracial relationship was not statistically different from the percentage of same-sex couples.

      50 Table 8 does not show this percentage but it can be calculated from the numbers in the table.

      51 Note that opposite-sex cohabiters and same-sex couples were not statistically different from one another.

      52 See Susan L. Brown, 2006, “Family Structure Transitions and Adolescent Well-Being,” Demography, 43:447–461; Wendy D. Manning and Susan Brown, 2006, “Children's Economic Well-Being in Married and Cohabiting Parent Families,” Journal of Marriage and Family, 68:345–362; R. Kelly Raley and Elizabeth Wildsmith, 2004, “Cohabitation and Children's Family Instability,” Journal of Marriage and Family, 66:210–219.

      53 See Table 7, Jason Fields, 2003, “Children's Living Arrangements and Characteristics,” March 2002, Current Population Reports, P20-547, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      54 Note that the percentage of children living with two unmarried parents does not differ statistically from the share of children living with their father only.

      55 The percentage of children living below the poverty level was not statistically different between those living with two unmarried parents and with their mother only.

      56 For information on family groups with children under the age of 18 before the recession began in 2007, see Table 3, Rose M. Kreider and Diana Elliott, 2009, “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2007,” Current Population Reports, P20-561, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

      57 This is a restrictive definition of stay-at-home parents. We use this definition to approximate the often-called “traditional” arrangement that was more common in the mid-twentieth century.

      58 See historical Table SHP-1 accessible on the U.S. Census Bureau Web site at <>.

      59 The years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2012 were not statistically different from 2005, nor were the years 2007 and 2008 different from one another, nor 2009 and 2010.

      60 The years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 were not statistically different from one another, nor were 2011 and 2012 different from one another.

      61 See Aysegül Sahin et al., 2010, “The Unemployment Gender Gap during the 2007 Recession,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Current Issues in Economics and Finance 16:1–7; Michael Hout et al., 2011, “Job Loss and Unemployment,” pp. 59–81 in “The Great Recession,” edited by David B. Grusky, Bruce Western, and Christopher Wimer, New York: Russell Sage Foundation; and Heather Boushey, 2009, “Job Prospects Remain Dim for Millions of Workers,” Center for American Progress, Washington, DC, <>.

      62 See Kristin Smith, 2012, “Recessions Accelerate Trend of Wives as Breadwinners,” Brief 56, Carsey Institute: Durham, NH, <>.

      63 The change in home ownership did not differ statistically for the following comparisons: California versus Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, or New Hampshire; Arizona versus Michigan, Ohio, Florida, or New Hampshire; Michigan versus New Hampshire; Ohio versus Florida or New Hampshire; Illinois versus New Yo rk, Florida, or New Hampshire; New York versus New Hampshire; or Florida versus New Hampshire.

      64 The change in parental unemployment did not differ statistically for the following comparisons: Hawaii versus California, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, or Connecticut; California versus Colorado, North Carolina, New Jersey, or Connecticut; Colorado versus North Carolina, New Jersey, or Connecticut; Florida versus Connecticut; North Carolina versus New Jersey or Connecticut; or New Jersey versus Connecticut.

      65 See Table P42, available on American FactFinder at <>.

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