How has the diversity of U.S. families increased?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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American families have become more diverse in almost every conceivable way.  This has been caused by such factors as immigration, the women’s movement and the growing acceptance of homosexuals in our society.

One way in which families are more diverse is in terms of ethnicity.  There are many more interracial marriages than there once were.  Even if we only compare today with 1980, we see that the percentage of new marriages that feature partners of different races has more than doubled.  The percentage was 6.7 in 1980 and is now 15.  This means that American families are more racially diverse.  This is probably due to immigration and to changing racial attitudes.

American families are more diverse now in terms of spousal roles and in terms of being “blended.”  The women’s movement, among other things, made divorce more common and made women more likely to be working outside the home.  This means that we now have many families that come from second marriages and involve stepparents and stepchildren.  This is much different than in the past when the most common family type by far was two biological parents with their children, often with the wife acting as a homemaker.

Finally, we have diversified to the point where many families involve same-sex couples.  These can be couples on their own or with children.  This has come about largely because changing social mores have greatly reduced societal disapproval of homosexuality.

Thus, there are many ways in which our families have become more diversified.

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