Traditional Family Still the Majority
Special Report - February 27, 2008
The majority of children in the United States live with their married biological mother and father, according to the latest analysis from the U.S. Census Bureau. The report titled, Living Arrangements of Children, 2004, contains data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The Census report found that nearly 70 percent of all children under age 18 lived with two parents in 2004. Of these children, nearly 67 percent lived with married parents, compared to three percent who lived with unmarried parents. However, 26 percent of all children in 2004 (19.3 million) lived with a single parentthe majority (88 percent) with single mothers. Of the children living with their single mothers in 2004, 18 percent lived with mothers who were cohabiting. Overall, five percent of children lived with a cohabiting parent in 2004.
The Census report notes that, “Major shifts in [children’s] living arrangements occurred between 1970 and 1990, when the proportion of children living only with their mother doubled from 11 percent to 22 percent. Since 1990, the changes in children’s living arrangements have leveled off.” For example, an analysis of Census data by the New York Times shows that 85 percent of children in 1970 lived with two parents, while 11 percent lived with their single mother. By 1990, slightly more than 70 percent of children lived with two parents, compared to 22 percent who lived with their mother only. The 2004 data shows only slight changes in both categories.
“This report shows that the two-parent married family is alive and well in the United States,” said NCFPC president, Bill Brooks. “The good news is that the majority of children in this country are being raised by their married mothers and fathers, and the breakdown in the nuclear family seems to be slowing down. The bad news is that cohabitation is on the rise, and a growing number of children are living in households headed by single mothers who are living with men who are not related to their children. This puts these mothers and their children at an increased risk for domestic violence, sexual abuse and even more family fragmentation. Marriage is the safest place to raise happy, healthy children, and every child deserves the chance to grow up with their married mother and father.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.