POV – The Changing American Family

A report just out by the New York Times indicates our traditional family is changing. Today, blended family is encompassing husbands, wives and children from various marriages and ex-spouses and ex-partners in varying degrees.

First, the report indicates “families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago – than even half a year ago”.

America is about diversity; Hispanics, Asians, African Americans, and Lesbians & Gays to name a few groups are part of what we have grown up with today. The fastest growing immigrant groups to American are not Latinos but Asians.

Asian Americans are exceptionally stable, “they are less likely to be divorce than Americans in general” (16% infants out of wedlock, compared to 41% over all and 80% raised by two parents versus 63% overall; Pew Research).

As a psychologist, I find that we are in a society where diversity is accepted and unlike a generation ago we have grown up with all ethical, racial, religious, and stylistic diversity. What is troubling is how it affects our children and our life.

There is often a debate whether this is a positive or negative change. Yet, the decline of the two-parent household has affected the income of single parents. New York Times study indicated 63% of children live in a household with two parents. The majority of single parents are single mothers. There is evidence that sons raised by single mothers “appear to fair particularly poorly”.

A few more statistics in this study:
-More than 40% of American babies are born to unmarried women, most in their 20s and 30s
-The traditional family of stable married parents with their children is educated elite
-Believe in romance – yes – hearing the word “family” answers were Love, Kids, Mom, and Dinner
-72% of adults under 30 view the ideal marriage as husband and wife both work and share in childcare
-28% of married women are more educated than their spouse
-Divorce is declining and the decline is for middle and upper middle income couples with college degrees
-Increase in out of wedlock births has occurred for all but the highly educated woman
-Men and women are waiting later to marry (men 28, women 26-27)

In summary, go to college, build finances, marry, build more finances, have children does build confidence in yourself and the ability to survive and to succeed.