1.) How has the American family changed in the last fifty years?
Over the past half a century there has been a gradual move towards more women working in paid jobs. The majority of today’s elderly American women have spent much of their lives as housewives. They grew up with the aim of finding a husband to support them. However, for the next generation, things were different. By 1965, 41.1 per cent of women aged between thirty-five and forty-four were in paid employment (context). By 1986, 66.3 per cent of women aged forty-five to fifty five were in paid employment (context)
Average family income has fallen over the last fifteen years, unless a second house member is earning. Low income families and single parent families have become particularly worse off (context). Due to this, many more people who are supporting families are having to work.
These changes have led to parents, and mothers in particular, having less time to spend with their children and less leisure time.
2.) What are the major trends in modern-day American society?
One trend is speed. America’s fixation with technology has caused many areas of life to be faster. Internet, email, cell phones and globalisation are just some of the ways in which this is happening. The results are around-the-clock access to shopping, fast-food and low cost travel, to name just a few.
Another example is demographics. People are living longer and as a result there has been a rise in single person households, probably as a result of both a higher divorce rate and there being more widows in America now. Other trends linked to this one include older parents, one-parent families and more untraditional families.
Globalisation has been a massive trend, but now society appears to be moving back towards the local. For example, buying organic, locally produced food is becoming the norm (nowandnext). Nevertheless, international travel is still popular, as is global communication.