- Title Pages
- 1 How to Give the Present a Past? Family Law in the United States 1950–2000
- 2 Changing Family Patterns in England and Wales over the Last Fifty Years
- 3 A Century of the American Family
- 4 Family Policy in the Post-War Period
- 5 The Evolution of Family Policy in the United States after World War II
- 6 English Family Law since World War II: From Status to Chaos
- 7 The Shadowlands: The Regulation of Human Reproduction in the United States
- 8 The Legal Regulation of Infertility Treatment in Britain
- 9 Parenthood in the United States
- 10 Marriage, Cohabitation, and Parenthood—from Contract to Status?
- 11 Marriage: An Institution in Transition and Redefinition
- 12 The Constitutionalization of American Family Law: The Case of the Right to Marry
- 13 Dual Systems of Adoption in the United States
- 14 English Adoption Law: Past, Present, and Future
- 15 Divorce in the United States
- 16 Divorce in England 1950–2000: A Moral Tale?
- 17 The Financial Incidents of Family Dissolution
- 18 Post-divorce Financial Obligations
- 19 The Status of Children: A Story of Emerging Rights
- 20 Disputing Children
- 21 The Law and Violence Against Women in the Family at Century’s End: The US Experience
- 22 Violence Against Women in the Family
- 23 A Forum for Every Fuss: The Growth of Court Services and ADR Treatments for Family Law Cases in the United States
- 24 Access to Justice in Family Matters in Post-War Britain
- 25 Child Welfare Policy and Practice in the United States 1950–2000
- 26 From Curtis to Waterhouse: State Care and Child Protection in the UK 1945–2000
- 27 The Hague Children’s Conventions: The Internationalization of Child Law
- 28 Individual Rights and Family Relationships
- 29 The End of an Era?
A Century of the American Family
A Century of the American Family
- (p.56) (p.57) 3 A Century of the American Family
- Cross Currents
Donna Ruane Morrison
- Oxford University Press
The present state of the American family is commonly interpreted as a ‘sign of the times’, a by-product of contemporary values and culture and the economic forces that shape modern life. Taking a longer view, however, reveals that many aspects of current family demography reflect patterns that have been under way since the beginning of the twentieth century, while others are newer developments. This chapter highlights the major demographic trends that have shaped family life in the United States since 1900. Some trends such as lower fertility, increases in age at marriage, and elevated divorce levels took root early on in the century, making patterns in family life ripe for change. Other developments, such as the large-scale participation of mothers with young children in the labor force, the prevalence of cohabitation, and sharp increases in out-of-wedlock childbearing, have only recently gained momentum. What is most noteworthy is that these trends have combined into a retreat from marriage in American society and the separation of childbearing from marriage.
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