7 Surprising Facts About The New American Family

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happy parents and son
New trends in the American family: surprising facts about marriage, divorce and kids today.
  • In 1990, 28 percent of births were to unmarried women. By 2008, that number was 41 percent.
  • In 1978, in vitro fertilization was just being pioneered. By 2006, nearly 57,000 babies were born via assisted reproductive technologies.
  • In 1960, only 9 percent of children lived in a step-family arrangement. Today, nearly a third do.

Are these statistics proof that the traditional family unit is no longer valued or upheld? Or do they suggest that we're more open to, and benefit from, a variety of family arrangements? We'd like to think the latter is true.

4. More Parent-Child Time
Prior to 1995, mothers spent 12 hours a week with their children. By 2007, that number was 21 for college-educated moms and 16 for those with less education. For dads, the hours more than doubled among the college-educated (from 4.5 hours to 9.6 hours) and nearly doubled among those with less education (from 3.7 to 6.8). While these numbers show that women are still doing the majority of the diapering and doctors' appointments, they also indicate two happier facts: men are taking their parenting duties more seriously and children are getting more time with the grown-ups they love the most.

5. An Increase In Shared Housework
Women still do about two-thirds of the housework in dual-income families, according to the University of Wisconsin National Survey of Families and Households. But men do far more dusting and washing than they used to. In the past fifty years, men's contributions to housework have doubled. And as one might hope, this bodes well for the state of marriage. American couples who share employment and housework responsibilities are less likely to divorce than couples that don't, according to research by Lynn Prince Cooke, of the University of Kent. 5 "Man Chores" That Will Get Him To Do Housework

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