Family Types

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Family life is evolving. The American family is a structure that is constantly changing to go along with the fast-paced world. Family time seems to be a thing of the past. Two-parent households are on the decline in the United States as divorce, remarriage and living together are on the rise (Pew research,2017)”. Additionally, families are smaller now, both because of the development of single-parent families, couples wanting to put careers before having children, or opting not to have children, wars, and incarcerations. Not only are Americans having less children, nonetheless the circumstances surrounding parenthood have changed. Here is a look at some events, eras, dynamics and changes that have impacted the American family over time.

The Great Depression (October 29, 1929 to 1939)

Known as the “worst economic downturn in modern history” The Great Depression tested American families in many ways by placing serious financial, mental, and social strains on individuals and their households. The worry of financial strain caused significant damage particularly on the men who were all of a sudden helpless and unable to accommodate their families. Marriages also became tense, though many couples who could not afford divorces separated. Divorce rates dropped during the 1930s as abandonments increased. Some men opted for what is called a poor mans divorce and deserted their families out of embarrassment or frustration “Causing the national suicide rate to rise to an untouched high in 1933(Konkel,2018)”. Another hit to the American family during this era was the decline in birth rates which was caused by the traditional roles within the family switching as the women now had to go outside the home to find work.

World War II (Sept 1, 1939 to Sept 2, 1945)

One gigantic effect in American families happened amid the 50's after World War II finished. As men got back home in the wake of serving in the military in Europe and Japan, People got married at more young ages and the birth rate took off. While this was, good there were other issues that come along. One major impact was the shortage on labor when the men went off to war. In order for this issue to be fixed the women had to again be taken out/ away from their home roles in taking care of the children and the home to enter the workforce and pick up the slack. In some cases, teenagers were required to drop out of school in order to make ends meet. While the men were away a lot of children were left with the feeling of abandonment this was a very emotional time for the American family. Americans avoided the extraordinary issues of the day and withdrew into their own lives.

More Mother’s Entering the Workforce (60’s)

While in 1960 just 18 percent of mothers with infants at home had any college experience, today that share stands at 67 percent. In 1975 fewer than half of mothers with children younger than 18 were in the workforce. Today, 70 percent of these mothers are working. Parents both working and non-working—endeavor to be dynamic and mindful parental figures. Also, for those that need to organize child rearing nearby their expert lives, new information has revealed some promising news that disperses a portion of the fantasies that keep stirring parents up during the evening: kids with two working parents may really grow up to be preferred prepared for the work environment over their peers.

More Single Parent Homes (70’s to 80’s)

Single-parent families can be defined as families where a parent lives with dependent children, either alone or in a larger household, without a spouse or partner(,2019). In the coming years, these types of families are becoming more typical. While in the mid 1960s children generally were the result of a marriage, today more births happen between people who are single or living unmarried with a partner. Again, along with the home structures and the fact that women still continue to enter the workforce. During this time women are starting to progress as breadwinners much of the time, essential providers for their families. Because of these changes, there will never be one dominant form of the American family again.

The Great Recession (Dec 2007)

The impact of the Great Recession on family inclines in the United States has been emotional as to birth rates and divorce, and has been emphatically suggestive of family violence, yet less clear for marriage and co-habitation. Marriage rates declined, and co-residence rates expanded, yet these patterns were at that point in progress, and the retreat didn't change them much. At the point when patterns don't alter course it's hard to distinguish an impact of a stun this wide. In any case, with both birth rates and separation, clear examples developed. “Researchers believe that, like births, people postpone divorces during economic crises because of the costs of divorcing—not just legal fees, but also housing transitions (which were especially difficult in the Great Recession) and employment disruptions. (Cohen,2015)”.

Diversity and Interracial families. (Loving v. Virginia )

Nowadays’ interracial marriage has become more common than same race marriages in the United States. Back in the early 40’s and 50’s interracial marriage was almost unheard of. If it was happening it was on the hush hush. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Loving v. Virginia ruling in 1965“struck down state laws that banned interracial marriage(Edmonds,2018)”. The Pew Research Center analysis found that “6.3% of all marriages in the year 2013 were between people of different races, compared to less than 1% in 1970(Bowman,2017)”. The impact this has on the American family is trying to determine what religion, traditions are to be followed.

Same Sex Marriages becoming Legal (June 26, 2015)

“America’s families are changing. Today just 69 percent of children live with married, heterosexual parents, down from 83 percent in 1970(Elliot,2009)”. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalizing it in all fifty states, and requiring states to honor out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses. This poses a huge impact on the American family because now the obstacles to the same sex marriages are far reaching. It was automatically assumed that a family consists of a mom and a dad since summer of 2015 a family can now legally be either combination of mom/dad, mom/mom, or dad/dad. The impacts this cause on the American family is mainly felt by the LBGT families and there are financial hardships caused by having to pay higher taxes if children are involved. And issues with healthcare due to employers not allowing them to participate in the family plans.

Couples putting Careers before Children (present day)

Couples are opting to place having children on the back burner until around their thirty’s in order to further their education and or careers in the hopes of bringing a child into a more stable environment. This impacts The American family in a major way because if couples are deciding to wait into later in life they may find out they are unable to have children due to time. Meaning their bloodline may die with them. The choice to hang tight to have children starts as an individual decision with belongings, yet the pattern of more seasoned first-time parents is now reshaping the American family in enormous ways.

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Family Types. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved July 19, 2024 , from

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