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Leaving and Returning to the Feathered Nest
Leaving and returning to the feathered nest

A powerful force shaping the history of the American family in much of the 20th century was the massive increase in economic well-being—income, education, wealth—that was particularly marked during three and a half decades around mid-century, 1940 to 1975. This was the period when home ownership and sending children to college became reasonable goals for all Americans, goals attained by many before the expansion of the economy slowed dramatically. The contours of this period are particularly clear in the increase in educational attainment of the parents of our survey group (Figure 8.1), shooting up by nearly four years, an increase of 50 percent, primarily in the post-World War II period.

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