Decline Of The American Family Essay

1363 words - 6 pages

Today, the definition of family is very complex and cannot be explained in just a few words or lines. It can be said that the word ‘family’ has more than one meaning and this makes it more complicated for one to understand the meaning of family. According to most people, a family can be one in the traditional sense with two heterosexual parents with children, one with two parents of the same sex with an adopted child, one with a single parent. But maybe a family could be made of multiple partners; as an example in Judith Stacey’s book with the three gay partners living together. Maybe it could even be a live-in relationship where the partners are not married, as opposed to popular belief. ...view middle of the document...

Also, this has led to more families that have only adults as they now value the importance of a family with quality rather than having a bigger family. He shows this by giving statistics about the number of children that make the total population that has fallen since the 1960’s, from a third of the total population consisting of children then to a fourth of the total population today.
Today, there has been a change in whether more people are married or not and this could be a cause in the ‘declining’ family. Due to increase in the number of divorced people since the 1960’s, a family is different from what it was. The American family has definitely changed in the previous years and there are more single people today. Even the number of families that lived together till the child got married has declined in today’s American families. There are more children moving out of homes before getting married than before and the number is increasing. Women are moving out of homes way before they get married and this is a growing trend.
Popenoe leads us towards the role of mothers and how this has changed since the 1960’s. He argues that since the 1960’s the number of mothers who used to work has risen as not many mothers worked at that times unless if they wanted the money to a great extent. He also states that the number of working mothers has increased and they are equal to the number of single women working today. Further more, women today can have a child at an older age than they could before with the increase in women’s childbearing age.

All this has led to a change in the traditional American family, which has been deteriorating over time as a smaller number families are now restricted to being together and families have turned into more independent self governing families. Popenoe argues that the decline in a family is also caused due to the increased number of individuals who want a shift from the traditional family and want to live their own life; and with increased chances this is now stimulating the decline.
In Judith Stacey’s article “Good riddance to ‘the family’”, Stacey agrees with Popenoe about his view on the changing family but doesn’t necessarily agree with his arguments that the family is ‘declining’. She thinks that it’s for the better that the view of a family has changed from being an organization to being one of an ideology. She takes on a feminist view with her approach and specifies the role of women having changed since the 1960’s. Before then, women were mostly living at homes and taking care of the family but due to the change in economic working of the country, employment for women has gone up. Today, women have more jobs than before and they don’t necessarily have to rely on a husband to take care of her. This has caused a change in the roles women played earlier...

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