The number of children growing up in a two-parent household exceeded 70 percent for the first time in 30 years.
New 2020 data from the Census Bureau’s Institue For Family Studies (IFS) states, “The proportion of children living with two parents has gradually recovered, reaching 70% in 2020. And the fraction living in one-parent families has slipped from 28% to 25%, while the number living with neither parent has leveled off between 4 and 5 percent.”
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It should be noted that the Bureau’s two-parent standard includes stepparent and adoptive families. However, these families have experienced a type of disruption and, “the evidence is that they have higher rates of emotional, behavior, and learning problems than those residing with both birth parents.”
America’s stray from the nuclear family essentially began in 1964 with President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society Act. One aspect of the legislation provided federal assistance to single black mothers. This decreased the rate of marriage in the black community and promoted fatherlessness. “One of the most encouraging developments is the rebound in the proportion of black children being raised by their biological fathers as well as their birth mothers. Among African American high school seniors, that proportion has risen from 24% in 2012 to 30% in 2019.”
Furthermore, high rates of divorce disrupted all families notably during the teenage years. The IFS writes, “The Census Bureau’s reading of the proportion of children under 18 living with two parents declined from 88% in 1960 to just over two-thirds in 2005. And the proportion living with divorced, separated or never-married single parents tripled from 9% to 28%.”
The report continues, “In 2019, just over 53% of U.S. high school seniors were living with both their biological parents. Just under 51% were with married birth parents. … It represents a modest recovery when compared with parallel findings from 2012 (when under 50% lived with both birth parents) and 2016 (when 51% did).” The IFS suggests the data will follow a positive trend in the coming years, as a return to the nuclear family begins.