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American families taking 'divergent paths,' study finds
Date:9/10/2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio After a period of relative calm during the 1990s, rapid changes in American families began anew during the 2000s, a new analysis suggests.

Young people delayed marriage longer than ever before, permanent singlehood increased, and divorce and remarriage continued to rise during the first decade of the century.

(See the top 5 trends in American families during the 2000s: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/5Trends.htm)

But the most troubling finding, researchers say, may be how American families have taken divergent paths: White people, the educated and the economically secure have much more stable family situations than minorities, the uneducated and the poor.

"The state of American families has become increasingly polarized," said Zhenchao Qian, author of the new study and professor of sociology at The Ohio State University.

"Race and ethnicity, education, economics and immigration status are increasingly linked to how well families fare."

Qian said the end result of the continuing changes he found in the 2000s is that "there is no longer any such thing as a typical American family."

Qian's analysis, based on data from the 2000 U.S. Census and the 2008-2010 American Community Survey, among other sources, is contained in a new report for the US2010 Project, sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation and Brown University.

Qian said the Great Recession of the late 2000s played a large role in the changes he saw in American families during the decade covered by this study.

"There is no doubt that the gap between America's haves and have-nots grew larger than ever during the 2000s," he said.

"This gap has shaped American families in multiple ways. It influences the kind of families we live in and the kind of family environment in which we raise our children."

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Contact: Jeff Grabmeier
grabmeier.1@osu.edu
614-292-8457
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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