NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Status Of The "Traditional Family"

May 28, 1998

Families consisting of a married couple with children under age 18 have not been in a majority since 1967. While the proportion of such families has declined dramatically in the intervening years, the rate of decline has recently been leveling off, according to Census Bureau officials.

  • Married couples with minor children accounted for 35.7 percent of families in 1997 - -down from 50.1 percent in 1967 and 36.3 percent in 1993.
  • As a proportion of all households, married-couple households with children declined from 40 percent to 26 percent between 1970 and 1990.
  • The percentage of single-parent families in the U.S. doubled between 1970 and 1990 -- from 6 percent to 12 percent of all families and from 11 percent to 24 percent of all households.
  • From 1990 to 1997, the percentage of single-parent families edged up by less than 2 points.

The divorce rate per 1,000 people was 4.1 in 1995 -- down from 4.7 in 1990 and 5.0 in 1985.

Source: Joyce Howard Price, "Traditional Family Nowhere Near Extinct," Washington Times, May 28, 1998.


Browse more articles on Government Issues