The American Family Transforms
American households are now more diverse, and uniquely so, than ever before.
A few common households today consist of post-divorce, same-sex couples raising children, and immigrant couples who raise children here in America all the while knowing very little English and holding tight to their religious structures and cultural lifestyles.
Not only that, but the number of families with incarcerated parents has also increased substantially. This tragic byproduct of America's status as the world's leading jailer affects the innocent children who grow up while their parents are behind bars.
In other words, so long and farewell to the days of the traditional family being strictly a mom, a dad, two-and-a-half children, and a dog playing in the yard. That is so 20 years ago! Actually, more like 10. Times have changed at a rapid pace as the American family is no longer what it once was, far surpassing the experts' predictions of how the transformation would unfold.
"This churning, this turnover in our intimate partnerships is creating complex families on a scale we've not seen before," said Andrew J. Cherlin, a professor of public policy at John Hopkins University. He went on to say, "It's a mistake to think this is the endpoint of enormous change. We are still very much in the midst of it."
While fewer women are having children, those that do are having fewer than before. More than 40 percent of American babies are born to unwed women in their 20s and early 30s. Families are becoming more "socially egalitarian" overall, despite the widening economic disparities. They are more ethnically, racially, religiously, and stylistically diverse than half a generation-- a generation-- ago. In fact, the dramatic change can even be seen since as soon as half a year ago.
With Blacks marrying Whites; Atheists marrying Baptists; Men marrying Men; Women marrying Women-- the joining of forces despite diverse backgrounds, upbringings and beliefs, is being called a "voluntary kin" movement, and who's to say it isn't absolutely perfect?