Posted on Thursday, November 11, 2010
WASHINGTON — The recession continued to batter families this year, with the number of stay-at-home mothers declining and a sharp rise in the number of children living with their grandparents, according to a new Census Bureau report.
The number of children living in their grandparents’ home increased by 8 percent compared with 2009, the second such rise in two years, and an indication that the recession is rearranging how people live.
Over all, 6.5 percent of children in the United States lived with their grandparents, a 20-year high and double the rate in 1970, said Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University, who analyzed the data.
“That’s a story that says grandparents are helping out as their adult children are losing their jobs,” Mr. Cherlin said.
Of the 7.5 million children who lived with a grandparent in 2010, more than a fifth did not have a parent present in the household, the report said.
The recession may also have been a factor in reducing the number of stay-at-home mothers, which dropped slightly to 23 percent in 2010, down one percentage point from 2007, when the economic downturn began.
The report also highlighted increases in the marriage age for men and women, a long-term trend that began in the 1950s. This year, the median age for men to marry for the first time was 28, up from 26 in 2000. The age for women was 26, up from 25 a decade ago.
Americans were marrying at their youngest in the 1950s, when half of all women were married by their early 20s, Mr. Cherlin said. But the age has been rising since then, and it is now the highest since the government began to track the data in the 1890s, he said.
In all, 54 percent of adults were married in 2010, down from 57 percent in 2000, the report said. At the same time, the number of one-person households rose to 27 percent over the past decade, up from 25 percent in 2000. That is more than double the number of one-person households in 1960, the report said.
The report also noted an increase in the average size of households headed by Americans without a high school degree. There are a number of possible reasons, Mr. Cherlin said, including an increase in the overall number of immigrants, who tend to be less educated and have larger families, or doubling up within households.
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
New York Times