Traditional family

Essay by xlr8i0nCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2003

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In the 1960s, the American family consisted of four or five members, called the nuclear family: father, mother, and two or three children. Where the father worked full-time the mother usually stayed home as a housewife. The traditional family has been changing rapidly enduring many changes in the recent decades. Changes such as structural and values regarding marriage and divorce, gender roles and same sex or homosexual families are noticeable changes that today's families have in the past generation.

Marriage is the main structure of the American family. Due to structural changes happening over the decades, Americans have become more accepting to the changes (Irvine 14A). During a survey in 1998, 56 percent of adults were married, compared with nearly 75 percent in 1972. While adding with the divorced, only slightly more than one in four marriages end in divorce during the 1950s (Coontz 61). Today, about 50 percent of marriages result in divorce.

The divorce rate has slowly been increasing since the 1950s. Since then the divorce rate remained fairly constant throughout the 1990s. The rise in divorce was probably caused by the increase in pregnancy. Stephen Kraus, a Connecticut-based market researcher for Yankelovich Partners, agreed that Americans are becoming more tolerant of divorce. This is partly because many people who are starting families may be products of divorce themselves.

One of the more noticeable changes in today's traditional family is the increase in single parent families. In 1990, 73 percent of children lived in a household with their two biological parents compared to 86 percent in the 1950s (Coontz 57). The percent of children living with single parents rose to 18.2 percent compared to 4.7 percent in 1972 (Irvine 14A). For many single parent homes either a mother or a father will raise their children by themself. Money...