Matters Relating to Children

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“Typical” Families

The Washington Post published another fascinating article on changing families this morning, citing a report from the Council on Contemporary Families being released today.  The study shows empirically what we know to be true (and what I blog about frequently) – families are more diverse than ever, and it is not necessarily a bad thing.  According to this study, the number of children raised by married parents with only father employed has dropped from 65% in 1960 to only 22% in 2012.  Making up much of the difference is a huge increase in two-income families, and a large increase in families with mothers only earning the income (either married mothers or unmarried mothers).  Families with married parents (irrespective of wage earner) dropped significantly from almost 90% in 1960 to around 60% in 2012.

In addition to helping folks understand the beauty and diversity of families raising children, these statistics underscore the importance of fair and equal wages for women.  The number of children being raised relying only on a man’s income is, according to these numbers, around 25%.  (Though some of the categories are unclear as to the sex of the wage-earning parent.)  Women’s wages are the sole support for children in at least that many families (counting formerly-married mothers, never-married mothers, and married parents with mother only employed), and shared support for children in at least another 34% of families.  It is clear that women are taking much more responsibility for financial support of their families, making women’s wages vitally important to the health and welfare of children.

My criticism of the article is that is makes no mention of children being raised by same-sex parents.  It is unclear how those families fall within the categories that seem to assume opposite-sex parents.

The Washington Post article is available online here.

by Rebekah Sullivan

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