NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Suggests Return Of The Nuclear Family

April 13, 2001

Traditional families -- in which children live with their married biological parents -- are on the rise, the Census Bureau reports.

The bureau's study, "Living Arrangements of Children," being released today, is based on a survey taken in 1996.

  • The proportion of the nation's children living with both biological parents jumped from 51 percent in 1991 to 56 percent in 1996.
  • At the same time, the percentage of children living in single-parent homes leveled off after a steady increase of more than 30 years.
  • A smaller share of children are being raised by unmarried couples, adoptive parents, grandparents or stepparents.
  • In 1996, 5.2 million children lived with one biological parent, usually the mother, and either a stepparent or adoptive parent -- up 16 percent since 1991.

The study, which was not connected to the 2000 census, was based on a survey of 37,000 households.

But some sociologists are not content to accept it at face value. They caution that other research does not show such a strong rebound in traditional nuclear families.

Source: Haya El Nasser, "More Children Live in Traditional Families," USA Today, April 13, 2001.


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