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A description of the american familys evolution through time

Parenting in America

The benefits of marriage have been widely studied; they include better health, better finances and a leg up for children raised in a stable environment. Some studies have even suggested that the legally wed have more sex. Marriage is an attractive enough proposition that people have marched and protested to allow a new subset of people to have access to it.

How the American Family Has Changed Dramatically

Yet marriage rates are in decline. In fact, a new book by a well-respected sociologist argues that the American family unit is facing challenges it has never encountered before.

  1. Asian moms have the lowest fertility, and Hispanic mothers have the highest. Mothers today are also far better educated than they were in the past.
  2. In fact, among married couples today, it is more common for the wife to have more education than the husband, a reversal of previous patterns.
  3. The economic prosperity of the time combined with the popular cultural ideal gave rise to family trends in the 1950s and early 1960s that had never been seen before. In the remainder of two-parent families, the parents are cohabiting but are not married.

Specifically, the marital decline has occurred among the working class. The non-married are not swinging George Clooney style bachelors who play the field until they find the perfect woman with whom to set up a home. These are usually fathers, men who have children and responsibilities and are often living with the mother of at least some of those children, or have lived with her in the past.

Meanwhile, for the wealthy, a successful and lasting marriage has become more and more likely. Professional men marry professional women, they pool their considerable resources and spend at least some of them on meticulously raising offspring, who get the best education, enrichment activities and artisanal bread for their lunchtime sandwich.

History of the family

They can afford to outsource or avoid those tasks that cause tension in less comfortable marriages: This has led some such cultural critics as Charles Murray to speculate that permissive social norms championed largely by the rich have worsened the struggles of the poor.

The rich, argues Murray, can afford to abandon the responsibility of marriage and the loss of its benefits.

Yet they do not. The less well-off, who would most benefit from the stability of institutions such as marriage, are disinclined to embrace its strictures.

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Now Andrew Cherlin, the well-respected sociologist at Johns Hopkins university has weighed in with a persuasive case for a sort of middle ground. Marriage and the economy, he finds are inextricably linked. What Cherlin finds that this is not the first time that there has been a wide disparity between the marital fortunes of the rich and the poor: Inequality in bank accounts and in marital status go hand in hand. But the cultural critics are not totally wrong.

  1. Though this definition seems straightforward, where do married couples or parents and children who live in different places fit in this definition of family?
  2. The authors, Louise A.
  3. Meanwhile, for the wealthy, a successful and lasting marriage has become more and more likely. Historiography[ edit ] The history of the family emerged as a separate field of history in the 1970s, with close ties to anthropology and sociology.
  4. In fact, across time and cultures, using the Census Bureau definition of family is an inappropriate way to measure and examine families.
  5. In the Stone Age men and women married in order to improve the economic situation of their respective clans, then in the Middle Ages and into the 18th Century marriage served the economic and political needs of a particular extended family group Coontz, 2005.

Now, rich and poor alike believe that living together before marriage is a prudent step. What this means, argues Cherlin, is that we are in whole new territory.

There has never been such a split between marriage-based families on the top rungs of the social ladder and cohabitation- and single-parent based families on the middle and bottom rungs.

The new formulations tend not to be as stable, and instability is sub-optimal for kids. Somehow, young people have to be persuaded to delay childbirth.

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Somehow, people have to be educated and trained for jobs that pay enough that they can begin to feel enough ground under their feet to start a more permanent sort of life. Somehow, those jobs, such as those in manufacturing, have to be created. None of this sounds remotely romantic.