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The Madera Tribune

American family: Changing form, function

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webmaster | 12/12/13

If you think that the traditional family household was best for the United States, you are probably going to be disappointed by the latest report from the Bureau of the Census. Although I didn’t receive the document until last week, it was officially released in August. However, it reveals trends that have been consistent for decades.

Before I get into the details of the survey, let me define a couple of terms. A family household has at least two members related by birth, marriage, or adoption. One of these members is known as the householder. A nonfamily household can be either a person living alone or one who shares living quarters only with nonrelatives — for example, boarders or roommates.

In either circumstance, children may or may not be present. Foster children are not counted by the Census Bureau as part of a family household because they are not related to the householder. However, biological children, adopted children, and stepchildren are counted as members of the family household. So, that’s why the Bureau defines family household as being people who cohabit because of biology, adoption, or marriage.

In 1970, 81 percent of all households were family households. In 2012, this figure had declined to 66 percent. The data are supported by three significant reports: Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), Current Population Survey (CPS), and the American Community Survey (ACS), all of which contain detailed information about family structure and characteristics over time for individual states and the nation as a whole...


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