Family Society

How Has Family Structure Changed Over Time?

A family is a basic unit of dwelling where parents and children live together. Over the years, the family structure changed considerably. Divorce, remarriages, cohabitation is pretty much growing in number. Single-parent households are rising with a drop in fertility rates. It’s not that there is only a change in the number of children but the family dynamics have changed as well. Here are some of the prominent changes in the family structure over the years.

Dominant Family Dynamics Are Changing

In the early 1960s, the arrival of new babies was within a marriage. However, now 2 out of 10 babies have single parents without any marital links. The role of mothers has completely transformed both in the workplace and at home. They are becoming breadwinners and in some cases the only working part of the family. So, the concept of a dominant family is no longer prevalent anymore.

Parents are raising their gene pool within the evolving culture. In comparison to the 1960s where the baby boom was one of the popular dynamics, the 2000s saw a declining trend in the share of children within a family. That time saw more than 70% of children born to their married parents during their first marriage. The number declined to less than half with the current life choices.

Also, in terms of fluidity, the current family structure has also been affected. Non-marital cohabitation, divorce rates, and eventually remarriages are becoming a part of today’s culture. A child’s living arrangements have changed accordingly. A study found that within three years, approximately 30% of children see a major change in their family distribution. The reasons could be many. Be it parental separation, marriage, living with a different partner, or death.

A Decline in The Average Family Size

2017 saw one of the lowest birth rates in the US. It was about 60 births per 1000 women aged 15 to 44 years. Because there has been a change in the age of becoming a mother for last decade. In the year 1980, the age was 23. While it increased to 26 in the year 2013. And since then, the age is gradually increasing. A lot of factors contributed to such changes. For instance, rising costs, recession, better education, women choosing careers over family life.

Single Family Homes Are On a Rise

As per the data shared by the Census Bureau, the average single-family size was approx. 1500 square feet. A lot of factors contributed to the change in that data by more than 1000 square feet. At the same time, there is an increase in the average household size. It was approximately 3.3 people per household in the 1960s. But, that changed to an average of 2.5 people per household in the year 2018.

More Mothers Are Entering the Workforce

Earlier mothers used to take a long break after having kids. But, those dynamics are also changing. As per the US Department of Labor, more than 50% of mothers joined the workforce. And this number represents more than 30% of all working women. The number has risen from 25% to mighty 47%. It’s because more women have access to education. So, they are now making important decisions for themselves, joining the workforce being one of them. 

Pet Ownership is on The Rise

great dogs for protection

Whether you choose dogs, cats, rabbits, or birds, pets have certainly found a place for themselves in American households. And the recent surveys show that on average two-thirds of American households have at least one pet. However, dogs continue to be the first choice for the American household. Be it for mental health or using breeds of great dogs for protection. On the other hand, the country has seen a rise in the number of exotic pets as well.  The change is more prominent among single-family households. For instance, fish, ferrets, hamsters, turtles, lizards are becoming a part of many American households.

Key Points

The family structure is evolving with time. Parents today are far from getting married than it used to be a few years back. The age of the mother is increasing from 21 years to anything above 27 years of age. The families today are much more educated and career-oriented. However, all the lifestyle changes have given rise to a range of mental health disorders. And this has largely impacted the American families on the whole. It’s still a mystery what the future holds for this changing dynamics.

Anton White
Anton teaches computer science in a primary school and loves writing blogs in his free time. Exploring and learning new coding languages is his favorite hobby.