The family portrayed in the TV show Leave it to Beaver doesn't exist anymore, according to an article in Time Magazine. The nuclear family, in which the father went to work every day and the mother stayed at home, is gone. But what has replaced it?
About a third of families have two parents working outside the home- that's more than any other type of family. But that means that two-thirds of U.S. families have other arrangements. What are they?
According to a study conducted by Philip Cohen at the University of Maryland, there have been three big changes in family life in the past 50 years. And it's not only the disappearance of 1950s families as portrayed in TV shows. It's also a 20 percent decline in families headed by two married parents, the growth in the number of women in the paid workforce, and what the article calls the "stew" of blended, remarried and co-habiting families.
Female-headed households, whether the women are divorced, widowed or never married, are almost as common as families with a stay-at-home mother and a father who earns the family's income. But there are enough other types of families that Cohen was able to make a chart reflecting all the possibilities:
- 3 percent of children live in households with single fathers
- 3 percent of children live with their grandparents
- 7 percent of children live with cohabiting parents
- 1 percent of children live with same-sex parents
- 4 percent of children live in families where neither parent works
- 23 percent of children live with their mothers
- 22 percent of children live in families where the father works and the mother stays home
- 34 percent of children live in families where both married parents work
- 3 percent of children live in other types of households
In short, there is no such thing as a typical family anymore. Divorce, working mothers, decline in marriage rates and other social phenomena have contributed to a much more varied array of family arrangements.