Home 2022 The American Family, Page 2

The American Family, Page 2

by Paul Ebeling

#American #culture #family

Today, the cultural preference in America is to have a small family unit with extended family living separately“– Paul Ebeling

The typical American family has classically been understood as a nuclear family; husband, wife and children with extended family living separately. While the nuclear family structure is common today, it can no longer be an exact social expectation as divorce, remarriage, cohabitation of couples and births outside of marriage have become more common.

For example: 23% of American children under the age of 18 lived in single-parent households as of Y 2019. Family structures can also vary significantly between different ethnicities and races in America.

For example: Black children are far more likely to be raised in single parent households than White, Asian and Hispanic children.

The size of immediate families have declined over time as American women have had fewer children.

Today, the common cultural preference in America is to have a small family unit with extended family living separately.

But, Asian, Black and Hispanic families are more likely to live in multigenerational arrangements and have larger households than White Americans.

American society has traditionally viewed men as the breadwinners of the family, while women seen as the homemakers and primary caretakers of children.

However, such attitudes towards female gender roles have changed significantly since the mid 20th Century.

For example: There is now support for female participation in the labor force and political office. The share of female household breadwinners and women-owned businesses has been consistently growing. American women have also been attaining higher levels of education, exceeding the male average in many cases In Y 2012 it became more common for the wife to have more education than the husband among opposite-sex married couples.

Overall, most Americans regard marriage as a couple’s commitment to their personal love for 1 another, rather than an economic or social union or family arrangement.

But, it is becoming less of an essential feature of American families. More Americans are marrying later in life, living with an unmarried partner and having children while unmarried.

For example: The percentage of all births to unmarried women was 39.6% in 2018. According to the US Census Bureau, the median age of 1st marriage in Y 2019 to be 29.8 for men and 28 for women an increase of more than 5yrs of age since the Y 1980 average. 

Studies show that most young American adults now cohabit with their partner instead of moving in with them at marriage, and fewer cohabitations transition to marriage.

For example: Some couples choose not to legally marry and remain in a de facto partnership whilst maintaining the same function and relationship as a married couple. An exception is for LGBTQI+ couples, who are marrying at higher rates since the legislation of same-sex marriage in Y 2015.

Despite the changing cultural approach to partnership, marriage is still regarded as a meaningful and highly valued institution in America. US divorce rates are also in steady decline, falling from 4.0 divorces per 1000 people in Y 2000 to 2.9 in Y 2018. 

The cultural emphasis on independence also sees many elderly Americans choose to live alone, preferring to be self-reliant in their old age rather than ‘burdening’ the younger generations of their family by living with them.

The average adult over 60 anni only lives with 1 other person usually a spouse. Also, many children feel an obligation to be financially independent and not rely on their parents as adults.

There is a general social expectation that their children leave home within a few yrs of finishing high school or college. But, this norm has been subject to change following tough economic periods. It is estimated roughly 20% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 lived with their parents in Y 2018

Families that uphold religious or conservative values may view marriage as a necessity to a stable family structure and expect strong couples to wed before having any children. 

Have a healthy, happy weekend, Keep the Faith!

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