American Intercontinental University
July 06, 2014
This paper will identify how family life has changed since 1960. It will review some of the ways that family has changed such as women becoming financially independent, people waiting longer to get married, people choosing to remain single and individuals choosing not to have children. It will also evaluate the factors that contribute to the changes in the family such as social issues. This paper will also discuss the major changes made to the family as a result of social change such as the 1967 Supreme Court legalization of interracial marriage. As a well as the 2009 memorandum signed by President Barack Obama granting benefits to same sex partners of federal employees.
Since the 1960’s there have been many significant changes in families and family dynamics. First of all, the definition of family has changed from two or more people living in a household who are related to each other by marriage, birth or adoption. To now include more non- traditional families such as gay and lesbian couples, unmarried heterosexual couples, single adults with foster children and grandchildren being raised by grandparents.
We have also witnessed women becoming financially independent since the 1960’s. Today, two-thirds of all married women with children and an even higher proportion of single mother work outside the home (Mintz & McNeil, 2013). Even though this phenomenon has created financial independence for women, it has also increased tension and conflict within marriages. This conflict has contributed to emotional abuse, violence and ultimately an increase in divorce (Castello PHD, 2011).
The marriage rate has fallen as well since the 1960’s. People are either opting to not get married. Or are now waiting longer to get married. According to the University of Maryland, since 1950 the marriage rate has fallen from 90 marriages a year per 1000 unmarried women to just 31. This is a 66 percent decline in marriage. (Contz, 2013). In 1960 a women who was still unwed at 25 was considered an old maid. In modern times, the average age for first marriage is almost 27 for women and 29 for men. (Contz, 2013).
We also see the decision to have children changing, as well as the parenting roles. In modern times, the decision to have children is more of a personal choice instead of necessity (Castello PHD, 2011).. There is also see an increase in the number of stay at home dads. In many cases, the woman is the primary breadwinner. In that instance, it is more economical for the father to remain at home and care for the children than the mom.
There are many factors that contribute to the changes in the families since 1960. As the culture changed, many social views changed as well. Many times, the changes in social views, will prompt major changes in legislation. On June 7, 2009 President Barack Obama signed a memorandum granting some benefits to same –sex partners of federal employees. This memorandum prompted the legalization of Gay marriage in many states. There are now 19 states in that Gay Marriage is legal. There still remains a ban in over 3 states. (CNN Library, 2014). Many believe that it is socially unacceptable to deny a person to marry whomever they chose.
Another example of changing in social views affecting policy. Is the 1967 Supreme Court legalization of interracial marriage (Bell, 2013). Richard P Loving and his wife, Mildred were married in Washington D.C. in 1958. Upon their return to Virginia, the interracial couple were convicted under the state law that banned mixed married. They eventually won a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June 1967 that overturned laws prohibiting interracial unions (Bell, 2013).
The family dynamic has become weaker in American society. The divorce rate in the United States is nearly twice that of the 1960s (Contz, 2013. This has caused an influx of single parent