The big issues What do sociologists mean by family? What have families looked like across time and space? What are current trend in families in the United States and around the world? What are alternatives to traditional families? 3
Families in poverty Poor families often adapt by creating extensive kin and quasi-kin networks. –Pros and cons to this kind of support structure For poor, young women there is typically high value placed on having and raising children. –Children can elevate a woman’s social value and self-esteem 17
After divorce Women and children often experience a significant decline in economic status. Men often experience an improved financial situation. The majority of divorced individuals will remarry. 19
Single-parent families Approximately half of children in the United States spend of part of childhood in single-parent families. These families are nearly always headed by women. There is a small movement of “single mothers by choice” made up of affluent, never-married women. For most, though, single parenting is related to divorce or factors related to poverty and deprivation. 26
Change in Cohabitation in the U.S. Total Unmarried Partners Living Together (Numbers In Millions) 1996 2.9 1998200020022004200620082010 3.1 3.8 4.2 4.7 5.0 6.8 7.5 6 4 2 0 SOURCE: Cohen 2010 Note: All data if for opposite sex couples.