In the late nineteenth century, family and household composition in the United States was more complex than ever before or since. The 1980s represent the opposite extreme: Households are simpler than they have ever been. Only 6 percent of households include extended kin, and the proportion of families with unrelated individuals is even lower. This chapter presents the preliminary stage of a larger project concerning one facet of the simplification of household structure: the decline of multigenerational living arrangements, with a special focus on differentials between blacks and whites. Social scientists frequently view household structure as a strategic and rational response to prevailing demographic or economic conditions. This functional approach is partly a consequence of static analysis. The dramatic changes in population composition during the course of the twentieth century complicate the study of changing family structure. The treatment of family structure as a simple dichotomy masks some key differences between blacks and whites.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Changing American Family|
|Subtitle of host publication||Sociological and Demographic Perspectives|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||28|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2019|
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 1992 Taylor & Francis.