Sunday, March 6, 2011

Marriage and Family Lifestyle in the USA

The family remains central to US society, and more than half of unmarried adults between the ages of 18 and 24 still live with their parents. Even so, the American family has changed considerably in recent decades. Today only about one-quarter of all households consist of a traditional nuclear family, and more than half of all households have no children. One out of every four children is born out of wedlock, and there has been a large increase in the number of single-parent families.

Almost 45.9 per cent (1996) of all working Americans are women. In many households where both the husband and wife work outside the home, men are expected to share household duties. Men have also been playing an increasing role in raising their children. With both parents working, the use of, and need for, day care facilities are increasing; this is especially true for single-parent families. Among the growing proportion of the elderly population, many prefer to live in their own homes and maintain their independence. Those who cannot care for themselves may live in retirement communities or other institutions, or with their adult children. However, extended families are not common in the US. The US family is more mobile than in many other societies. It is common to move from one region of the country to another for education, employment, or simply a change of climate and scenery. Some people may move 15 times or more during a lifetime. Although many couples choose to live together before, or instead of, marriage, the marriage rate is one of the highest in western societies-but the divorce rate is also the world's highest. Weddings vary in style according to religion, region, ethnic origins, and wealth. Both religious and secular people may be legally authorized to perform weddings. The average age for marriage is 26 for men and 24 for women.

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