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Just the Facts :: Who Is Family Now?

Mixed-race couples, single parents–they're all part of the new "normal."

Who is family now?

 

Who Is Family Now?

Mixed-race couples, single parents, unmarried couples raising children, divorces—they’re increasingly part of the new “normal.”

who is family now graphic

 

The Recession Has Changed Families

The recession that started in 2008 accelerated trends that were already developing. Young people at the start of their careers are having a hard time making ends meet. And 63 percent of workers ages 50 to 61 say the recession means they’ll put off retirement.

Recession changes families graphic

 

One Income Can't Pay the Bills Anymore

As recently as 1980, a family of three could get by on the income of one parent—as  long as that parent was male. Now that income won’t even cover the average family’s expenditures, let alone the things we’ve come to associate with a middle-class life, such as adequate housing or paying for a child’s college education.

one income graphic

 


Alyssa JohnsonAlyssa B. Johnson researched this fact sheet for What Happy Families Know, the Winter 2011 issue of YES! Magazine.  Alyssa is an editorial intern for YES! Magazine.


NOTE: Expenditure data were unavailable between 1961 and 1971, and between 1973 and 1980.  Because the consumer unit size was 3.2 people in 1960, and 2.9 in 1972, the average annual consumer unit expenditures from 1960 and 1972 were used to represent expenditures for a 3-person household. Available data were connected linearly for the graphic.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Report on the American Workforce,” 2001. Table 36: Average annual expenditures and percent distribution of all consumer units, selected periods, 1935-36 to 1998-99.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Interview Survey,” 1980-81, Table 6: Selected characteristics and annual expenditures of urban consumer units classified by composition of consumer unit.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Interview Survey,” 1982-83, Table 5: Selected characteristics and annual expenditures of urban consumer units classified by composition of consumer unit.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Consumer Expenditure Survey,” 1984-2009. Expenditure Tables, Size of Consumer Unit: Average annual expenditures and characteristics.


U.S. Census Bureau, “Historical Income Tables: People,” 2009. Table P-36: Full-Time, Year-Round Workers by Median Income and Sex.


Pew Research Center, “Marrying Out: One-in-Seven New U.S. Marriages is Interracial or Interethnic.” June 15, 2010.


U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey, March and Annual Social and Economic Supplements,” 2009. Table UC-1, Unmarried Partners of the Opposite Sex, by presence of children, 1960-present.

 

U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey, March and Annual Social and Economic Supplements,” 2009. Table MS-1, Marital Status of the Population 15 years Old and Over, by Sex and Race: 1950 to Present.


U.S. Census Bureau, “Current Population Survey, March and Annual Social and Economic Supplements,” 2009. Table CH-1, Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present.


Pew Research Center, “Home for the Holidays ...and Every Other Day: Recession Brings Many Young People Back to the Nest.” November 24, 2009.


Pew Research Center, “Recession Turns a Graying Office Grayer: America’s Changing Workforce.” September 3, 2009.

 

 

 

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