Partnerships, home life and other various social relationships are vital influences on personal well-being and development. Family formation and household trends are of specific interest to policy makers, for instance n the determination of housing and educational requirements. Traditionally, majority of the people living in the UK have had to share their living arrangements for most of their life. However, in the past recent decades, there has been age profile, attitude and social legislation changes of the population (Farley and Haaga 212). This has resulted into new characteristics and structures of families and households. A larger percentage of the population spends most of their time living alone, after, before or in marriage or cohabitation. This paper unravels the reasons behind the rising single-parent and cohabitation patterned households.
People define households to be a combination of people who eat and live together, or those who live alone. Cohabitation, civil partnership or marriage whereby there are children who make up the household is a broad way of defining families. Most households comprise of someone living alone or single parent families. At the center of this crucial transformation is the shrinking marriage institution. The percentage of married people has largely declined in America. Part of the decline is because the average age in which women and men first think of or get married is on the increase since the past five years. Part of the decline is as a result of the near tripling in divorced or separated share. Public attitudes toward the marriage concept mirror these dramatic changes. In a past but recent survey carried out in America attested to the fact that marriage is gradually becoming obsolete (Crouse 52).
The number of households has increased in the Great Britain by a portion of 55% since the year 1961. Although there has been a population increase, households have grown rapidly due to the increasing trend of smaller household sizes. This depiction is seen in the dropping percentages of the average household numbers from 3.1 in 1961 to 2.4 in 2009 (Macrory 4). Children live in a variety of family structures during their upbringing. For instance, if the child’s parents’ divorce, they end up living in a typical lone parent family or rather in a stepfamily. Step families’ formation occurs when a parent that has a child, lives in partnership with another person who is not a parent to the child. This may happen after a spouse’s or partner’s death, but it is most common in divorce.
Records in research prove the presence of a considerable increase in the figure of families with a lone mother as the head. The marital status of the lone parents has changed over the time markedly. The single parents may or may not have been in cohabiting relationships with the child’s father. The number of lone parents previously in cohabiting relationships is on a gradual increase as years go by. Divorce is one of the major causes for single lone parent families in the Great Britain and the world in general (Farley and Haaga 198).
Net results depict that the socio-economic gap and marriage gap have been growing aside each other for the past half century. It is evident that each of the two aspects may be feeding off the other. Adults that lie on the low rungs of the socio-economic ladder, measured through education or income, are as eager as others their age to marry. However, they place a notch higher in terms of premium on economic security as a marriage prerequisite than hose with higher education and economic levels. This is a bar that their prospective spouses may find difficult to meet since relative to other groups of people; they have experience on significant economic declines in the recent decades (Crouse 9).
The attitudes of the new generation cannot be left out as a major contribution to the evolution of the value of marriage. With the arrival of medication that helps in birth control, American women gained a control measure of their reproduction. This later affected the original basic unit of the family. Public attitudes on the sex issue outside marriage changed dramatically since then. According to statistics majority of people by 1969 believed that sex before marriage was immoral (Crouse 201). However, a decade down the line tables turned, and majority believed vice versa. Data depicts that the public’s ambivalence regarding the shifting gender roles in the past few decades.
While the public embraces the women’s changing role in society, majority of Americans still retain a more traditional orientation regarding marriage and family. This has succinctly led to a huge increase of single parent families and cohabitation (Crouse 53). When women get children outside marriage, a higher percentage of them end up raising them alone. As much as the new generation does not support the fact that women should revisit their traditional society roles in order to retain the value of a normal family, this evolution will take over the world in the future.
Over the recent past decades, a quiet revolution has overtaken the world all across the globe. Decades of social, economic and demographic changes have transformed the composition and structure of the American family. The pre-eminent family construction unit does not have a stage of existence anymore. Varieties of new arrangements have come up, giving rise to evolving and a broader definition of the family construct.
Crouse, Janice. Children at Risk: The Precarious State of Children's Well-Being in America.
New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2010. Web.
Farley, Reynolds and Haaga, John. The American People: Census 2000. New York: Russell
Sage, 2005. Print.
Macrory, Ian. Measuring National Well-Being – Households and Families, 2012. Office for
National Statistics. 2012. Retrieved from http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_259965.pdf