The Changing American Family (article)

The Changing American Family (article)

The link to the article is farther below. First, a few observations by me about the article / topic:

Instead of complaining about changes in society, social conservatives and Christians need to change and adapt. Help people where they are rather than gripe that the USA no longer looks like a 1956 rerun of “Leave it to Beaver.”

Instead of pressuring people to marry and have kids, just meet them where they are. Conservative Christians need to stop assuming that getting everyone married is an instant solution for all society’s ills. Married Christians still commit sins, such as have affairs, rape people, become drug addicts, and so on.

Jesus Christ died on the cross to save individuals from their sins, not to fix marriage or to encourage everyone to marry by the time they are 25 years old. The Bible does not tell Christians to lobby for, to encourage, or to defend marriage, or to “save culture.”

(Link): The Changing American Family

Excerpts

    By NATALIE ANGIER NOVEMBER 25, 2013

  • American households have never been more diverse, more surprising, more baffling. In this special issue of Science Times, NATALIE ANGIER takes stock of our changing definition of family.
  • The typical American family, if it ever lived anywhere but on Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving canvas, has become as multilayered and full of surprises as a holiday turducken — the all-American seasonal portmanteau of deboned turkey, duck and chicken.
  • Researchers who study the structure and evolution of the American family express unsullied astonishment at how rapidly the family has changed in recent years, the transformations often exceeding or capsizing those same experts’ predictions of just a few journal articles ago.
  • …Families, they say, are becoming more socially egalitarian over all, even as economic disparities widen. Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago — than even half a year ago.
  • In increasing numbers, blacks marry whites, atheists marry Baptists, men marry men and women women, Democrats marry Republicans and start talk shows. Good friends join forces as part of the “voluntary kin” movement, sharing medical directives, wills, even adopting one another legally.
  • Single people live alone and proudly consider themselves families of one — more generous and civic-minded than so-called “greedy marrieds.”
  • “There are really good studies showing that single people are more likely than married couples to be in touch with friends, neighbors, siblings and parents,” said Bella DePaulo, author of “Singled Out” and a visiting professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • But that doesn’t mean they’ll be single forever. “There are not just more types of families and living arrangements than there used to be,” said Stephanie Coontz, author of the coming book “Intimate Revolutions,” and a social historian at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash. “Most people will move through several different types over the course of their lives.”

  • At the same time, the old-fashioned family plan of stably married parents residing with their children remains a source of considerable power in America — but one that is increasingly seen as out of reach to all but the educated elite.
  • …Yet across the divide runs a white picket fence, our unshakable star-spangled belief in the value of marriage and family. We marry, divorce and remarry at rates not seen anywhere else in the developed world. We lavish $70 billion a year on weddings, more than we spend on pets, coffee, toothpaste and toilet paper combined.
  • …In charting the differences between today’s families and those of the past, demographers start with the kids — or rather the lack of them.
  • The nation’s birthrate today is half what it was in 1960, and last year hit its lowest point ever.
  • …Fewer women are becoming mothers — about 80 percent of those of childbearing age today versus 90 percent in the 1970s — and those who reproduce do so more sparingly, averaging two children apiece now, compared with three in the 1970s.
  • One big reason is the soaring cost of ushering offspring to functional independence. [Having children is very expensive]
  • …As steep as the fertility decline has been, the marriage rate has fallen more sharply, particularly among young women, who do most of the nation’s childbearing. As a result, 41 percent of babies are now born out of wedlock, a fourfold increase since 1970.
  • ..Also démodé is the old debate over whether mothers of dependent children should work outside the home. The facts have voted, the issue is settled, and Paycheck Mommy is now a central organizing principle of the modern American family.
  • …Cultural attitudes are adapting accordingly. Sixty-two percent of the public, and 72 percent of adults under 30, view the ideal marriage as one in which husband and wife both work and share child care and household duties…
  • …One change that caught many family researchers by surprise was the recent dip in the divorce rate. After many decades of upward march, followed by a long, stubborn stay at the familiar 50 percent mark that made every nuptial feel like a coin flip, the rate began falling in 1996 and is now just above 40 percent for first-time marriages.
  • …There are exceptions, of course. Among baby boomers, the rate of marriage failure has surged 50 percent in the past 20 years…
  • …For both Mike and Kristi Burns, now in their 40s, the first marriage came young and left early, and the second stuck around for more than a dozen years.
  • …They started chatting. Mike told Kristi how he’d married his first wife while he was still in college — “definitely too young,” he said — and divorced her two years later.

(Link): Click here to read the rest of the NY Times article

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Related posts this blog:

(Link): Conservative Christianity Stuck in 1950s Leave it To Beaver-ville

(Link):  Where have all the TV dogs gone? – indication of the decline of the nuclear family