Children and Families in the United States

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Chapter 1: Children and Families in the United States

DEFINING CHILDHOOD AND ADULTHOOD
BIRTH AND FERTILITY RATES
THE CHANGING FAMILY
LIVING ARRANGEMENTS OF CHILDREN

DEFINING CHILDHOOD AND ADULTHOOD

Exactly when childhood ends and adulthood begins differs among cultures and over periods of time within cultures. People in some societies believe adulthood begins with the onset of puberty, arguing that people who are old enough to have children are also old enough to assume adult responsibilities. This stage of life is often solemnized with special celebrations. In the Jewish tradition, for example, the bar mitzvah ceremony for 13-year-old boys and the bat mitzvah ceremony for 13-year-old girls commemorates the attainment of adult responsibility for observing Jewish law.

Modern American society identifies an interim period of life between childhood and adulthood known as adolescence, during which teens reach a series of milestones as they accept increasing amounts of adult responsibility. At age 16 most Americans can be licensed to drive. At 18 most young people leave the public education system and are eligible to vote. At that time they can join the military without parental permission and are tried as adults for all crimes in all states (although some states try younger people as adults, and in serious offenses such as murder, rape, or armed robbery, juveniles are sometimes tried as adults). There are contradictions in the rights and privileges conferred, however. In many states, teens under the age of 18 can marry but cannot see X-rated movies.

In general, American society recognizes 21 as the age of full adulthood. At 21, young men and women are considered legally independent of their parents and are completely responsible for their own decisions. At that time, they are allowed to buy alcoholic beverages.

According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, in America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2008 (2008, http://www.childstats.gov/pdf/ac2008/ac_08.pdf), in 2007, 73.9 million children younger than the age of 18 lived in the United States, 1.5 million more than in 2000. This number is expected to increase to 80 million by 2020. However, because the country's entire population will increase, the percentage of children in the population is projected to remain fairly steady, decreasing slightly from 25% in 2007 to 24% by 2020.

BIRTH AND FERTILITY RATES

Fertility is measured in a number of ways. One such measure, called the crude birthrate, is the number of live births per 1,000 women in the population, regardless of their age, in any given year. In 2005 the crude birthrate was 14 live births per 1,000 women. (See Table 1.1.) The crude birthrate for Hispanic women (of any race) was considerably higher (23.1) than for Asian or Pacific Islander women (16.5), non-Hispanic African-American women (15.7), Native American or Alaskan Native women (14.2), and non-Hispanic white women (11.5).

Another way to measure the number of births is the fertility rate, the number of live births per 1,000 women in the population between the ages of 15 and 44 years in any given year. These are the years generally considered to be a woman's reproductive age range. During the first 10 years of the baby boom that immediately followed World War II (19391945), fertility rates were well over 100 births per 1,000 women. (See Table 1.1.) In contrast, the fertility rate for American women in 2005 was 66.7 births per 1,000 women, just over half the 1960 fertility rate of 118 births per 1,000 women. However, some groups in American society have much higher fertility rates than the average. In 2005 the fertility rate for Hispanic women was 99.4 births per 1,000 women; non-Hispanic African-American women, 67.2; Asian or Pacific Islander women, 66.6; Native American or Alaskan Native mothers, 59.9; and non-Hispanic white women, 58.3.

Birth Trends

According to Frederick W. Hollmann, Tammany J. Mulder, and Jeffrey E. Kallan of the U.S. Census Bureau, in Methodology and Assumptions for the Population Projections of the United States : 1999 to 2100 (January

 
TABLE 1.1 Crude birth rates, fertility rates, and birth rates by age of mother, according to race and Hispanic origin, selected years 19502005
[Data are based on birth certificates]
   Age of mother
    1519 years      
Race, Hispanic origin, and yearCrude birth rateaFertility rateb1014 yearsTotal1517 years1819 years2024 years2529 years3034 years3539 years4044 years4554 yearsc
All racesLive births per 1,000 women
195024.1106.21.081.640.7132.7196.6166.1103.752.915.11.2
196023.7118.00.889.143.9166.7258.1197.4112.756.215.50.9
197018.487.91.268.338.8114.7167.8145.173.331.78.10.5
198015.968.41.153.032.582.1115.1112.961.919.83.90.2
198515.866.31.251.031.079.6108.3111.069.124.04.00.2
199016.770.91.459.937.588.6116.5120.280.831.75.50.2
199514.664.61.356.035.587.7107.5108.881.134.06.60.3
200014.465.90.947.726.978.1109.7113.591.239.78.00.5
200314.166.10.641.622.470.7102.6115.695.143.88.70.5
200414.066.30.741.122.170.0101.7115.595.345.48.90.5
200514.066.70.740.521.469.9102.2115.595.846.39.10.6
Race of child:d White
195023.0102.30.470.031.3120.5190.4165.1102.651.414.51.0
196022.7113.20.479.435.5154.6252.8194.9109.654.014.70.8
197017.484.10.557.429.2101.5163.4145.971.930.07.50.4
198014.964.70.644.725.272.1109.5112.460.418.53.40.2
Race of mother:e White
198015.165.60.645.425.573.2111.1113.861.218.83.50.2
198515.064.10.643.324.470.4104.1112.369.923.33.70.2
199015.868.30.750.829.578.0109.8120.781.731.55.20.2
199514.163.60.849.529.680.2104.7111.783.334.26.40.3
200013.965.30.643.223.372.3106.6116.794.640.27.90.4
200313.666.10.538.319.866.2100.6119.599.344.88.70.5
200413.566.10.537.719.565.099.2118.699.146.48.90.5
200513.466.30.537.018.964.799.2118.399.347.39.00.6
Race of child:d Black or African American
196031.9153.54.3156.1295.4218.6137.173.921.91.1
197025.3115.45.2140.7101.4204.9202.7136.379.641.912.51.0
198022.188.14.3100.073.6138.8146.3109.162.924.55.80.3
Race of mother:e Black or African American
198021.384.94.397.872.5135.1140.0103.959.923.55.60.3
198520.478.84.595.469.3132.4135.0100.257.923.94.60.3
199022.486.84.9112.882.3152.9160.2115.568.728.15.50.3
199517.871.04.194.468.5135.0133.795.663.028.46.00.3
200017.070.02.377.449.0118.8141.3100.365.431.57.20.4
200315.766.31.663.838.2103.7126.1100.466.533.27.70.5
200416.067.61.663.337.2104.4127.7103.667.934.07.90.5
200516.269.01.762.035.5104.9129.9105.970.335.38.50.5
American Indian or Alaska Native motherse
198020.782.71.982.251.5129.5143.7106.661.828.18.2*
198519.878.61.779.247.7124.1139.1109.662.627.46.0*
199018.976.21.681.148.5129.3148.7110.361.527.55.9*
199515.363.01.672.944.6122.2123.191.656.524.35.5*
200014.058.71.158.334.197.1117.291.855.524.65.70.3
200313.858.41.053.130.687.3110.093.557.425.45.50.4
200414.058.90.952.530.087.0109.792.858.026.86.00.2
200514.259.90.952.730.587.6109.293.860.127.06.00.3

13, 2000, http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0038.pdf), fertility rates among racial and ethnic groups are expected to differ markedly in the twenty-first century. Total fertility rate refers to the average number of children a woman will give birth to in her lifetime. The total fertility rate of white women is expected to rise slightly through the century but not to reach the population replacement rate (the fertility rate needed to keep the population stable, which is 2,100 births per 1,000 women). The total fertility rate for non-Hispanic African-American women will remain steady at about the population replacement rate. Native American and Asian or Pacific Islander total fertility rates are expected to decrease slightly but remain well above the population replacement rate through the twenty-first century. The Hispanic total fertility rate is also expected to decrease from a high of 2,920.5 births per 1,000 women over their lifetime in 1999 to 2,333.8 births per 1,000 women in 2100a rate still well above the

TABLE 1.1 Crude birth rates, fertility rates, and birth rates by age of mother, according to race and Hispanic origin, selected years 19502005 [CONTINUED]
[Data are based on birth certificates]
   Age of mother
    1519 years      
Race, Hispanic origin, and yearCrude birth rate aFertility rate b1014 yearsTotal1517 years1819 years2024 years2529 years3034 years3539 years4044 years4554 yearsc
Data not available.
*Rates based on fewer than 20 births are considered unreliable and are not shown.
a Live births per 1,000 population.
b Total number of live births regardless of age of mother per 1,000 women 1544 years of age.
c Prior to 1997, data are for live births to mothers 4549 years of age per 1,000 women 4549 years of age. Starting with 1997 data, rates are for live births to mothers 4554 years of age per 1,000 women 4549 years of age.
d Live births are tabulated by race of child.
e Live births are tabulated by race and/or Hispanic origin of mother.
f Prior to 1993, data from states lacking an Hispanic-origin item on the birth certificate were excluded. Rates in 1985 were not calculated because estimates for the Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations were not available.
Notes: Data are based on births adjusted for underregistration for 1950 and on registered births for all other years. Starting with 1970 data, births to persons who were not residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia are excluded. Starting with Health, United States, 2003, rates for 19911999 were revised using intercensal population estimates based on the 2000 census. Rates for 2000 were computed using the 2000 census counts and starting in 2001 rates were computed using 2000-base d postcensal estimates. The race groups, white, black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, include persons of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Starting with 2003 data, some states reported multiple-race data. The multiple-race data for these states were bridged to the single-race categories of the 1977 Office of Management and Budget standards for comparability withother states. Interpretation of trend data should take into consideration expansion of reporting areas and immigration. Data for additional years are available.
SOURCE: Table 4. Crude Birth Rates, Fertility Rates, and Birth Rates by Age, Race and Hispanic Origin of Mother: United States, Selected Years 19502005, in Health, United States, 2007. With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2007, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus07.pdf (accessed September 15, 2008)
Asian or Pacific Islander mothers eLive births per 1,000 women
198019.973.20.326.212.046.293.3127.496.038.38.50.7
198518.768.40.423.812.540.883.6123.093.642.78.71.2
199019.069.60.726.416.040.279.2126.3106.549.610.71.1
199516.762.60.725.515.640.164.2103.7102.350.111.80.8
200017.165.80.320.511.632.660.3108.4116.559.012.60.8
200316.866.80.217.48.829.859.6108.5114.659.913.50.9
200416.867.10.217.38.929.659.8108.6116.962.113.61.0
200516.566.60.217.08.230.161.1107.9115.061.813.81.0
Hispanic or Latina mothers e,f
198023.595.41.782.252.1126.9156.4132.183.239.910.60.7
199026.7107.72.4100.365.9147.7181.0153.098.345.310.90.7
199524.198.82.699.368.3145.4171.9140.490.543.710.70.6
200023.195.91.787.355.5132.6161.3139.997.146.611.50.6
200322.996.91.382.349.7132.0163.4144.4102.050.812.20.7
200422.997.81.382.649.7133.5165.3145.6104.152.912.40.7
200523.199.41.381.748.5134.6170.0149.2106.854.213.00.8
White, not Hispanic or Latina mothers e,f
198014.262.40.441.222.467.7105.5110.659.917.73.00.1
199014.462.80.542.523.266.697.5115.379.430.04.70.2
199512.557.50.439.322.066.290.2105.181.532.85.90.3
200012.258.50.332.615.857.591.2109.493.238.87.30.4
200311.858.50.227.412.450.083.5110.897.643.28.10.5
200411.658.40.226.712.048.781.9110.097.144.88.20.5
200511.558.30.225.911.548.081.4109.196.945.68.30.5
Black or African American, not Hispanic or Latina mothers e,f
198022.990.74.6105.177.2146.5152.2111.765.225.85.80.3
199023.089.05.0116.284.9157.5165.1118.470.228.75.60.3
199518.272.84.297.270.4139.2137.898.564.428.86.10.3
200017.371.42.479.250.1121.9145.4102.866.531.87.20.4
200315.967.11.664.738.7105.3128.1102.167.433.47.70.5
200415.867.01.663.137.1103.9126.9103.067.433.77.80.5
200515.767.21.760.934.9103.0126.8103.068.434.38.20.5

population replacement rate and well above the rates of other ethnic and racial groups. As a result, the proportion of American children who are non-Hispanic white is expected to decrease from 57% in 2007 to 52.9% in 2020, and the proportion of children who are Hispanic is expected to increase from 20.9% in 2007 to 23.6% in 2020, whereas other race and thnic groups will proportionally stay about the same. (See Table 1.2.)

 
TABLE 1.2 Children under age 18 by race and Hispanic origin, 19802007 and projected 200820
Race and Hispanic origina19801981198219831984198519861987198819891990199119921993199419951996199719981999 
a For race and Hispanic-origin data in this table: In 1980 and 1990 his table: In 1980 and 1990, following the 1977 0MB standards for collecting and presenting data on race, the decennial census asked respondents to choose one race from the following: White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Asian or Pacific Islander. The Census Bureau also offered an other category. Beginning in 2000, following the 1997 OMB standards for collecting and presenting data on race, the decennial census asked respondents to choose one or more races from the following: white, black, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. In addition, some other race category was included with OMB approval. Those who chose more than one race were classified as two or more races. Except for the all other races category, all race groups discussed in this table from 2000 onward refer to people who indicated only one racial identity within the racial categories presented. (Those who were two or more races were included in the all other races category, along with American Indians or Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders.) People who responded to the question on race by indicating only one race are referred to as the race-alone population. The use of the race-alone population in this table does not imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data. Data from 2000 onward are not directly comparable with data from earlier years. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected seperately; Hispanics may be any race.
b Excludes persons in this race group who are of Hispanic origin.
c Includes American Indian, Eskimo and Aleut, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and all multiple race (Two-or-more races).
d Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
SOURCE: POP3. Racial and Ethnic Composition: Percentage of U.S. Children Ages 017 by Race and Hispanic Origin, Selected Years 19802007 and Projected 20082020, in America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Weil-Being, 2008, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, July 2008, http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables.asp (accessed September 15, 2008)
White, non-Hispanicb7473737272727170706969686867666665646463 
Black, non-Hispanicb1515151515151515151515151515151515151515 
American Indian or Alaskan Nativeb11111111111111111111 
Asian or Pacific Islanderb22222333333333344444 
Hispanicd99101010101111121212131313141415151617 
Race and Hispanic origina200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020
White76.876.776.676.676.576.476.276.275.875.675.575.475.275.174.974.874.674.574.474.274.1
White, non-Hispanicb61.260.660.159.558.958.257.657.057.056.656.255.855.455.154.754.454.153.853.553.252.9
Black15.615.615.615.515.515.515.415.415.415.415.315.315.315.315.315.315.415.415.415.415.4
Asian3.63.73.73.83.94.04.04.14.14.24.34.34.44.44.54.54.64.64.74.74.7
All other racesc4.04.04.14.14.24.24.34.34.74.84.95.05.15.25.35.45.45.55.65.75.7
Hispanicd17.217.618.118.619.219.720.320.920.721.021.321.621.922.122.322.622.823.023.223.423.6
 
TABLE 1.3 Projected population of the United States, by race and Hispanic origin, 201050
[Resident population as of July 1. Numbers in thousands.]
Sex, race, and Hispanic origin*201020152020202520302035204020452050
*Hispanics may be of any race.
Abbreviations: Black = Black or African American; AIAN = American Indian and Alaska Native; NHPI = Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
Note: The original race data from Census 2000 are modified to eliminate the some other race category.
SOURCE: Adapted from Table 4. Projections of t he Population by Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin for the United States: 2010 to 2050, in U.S. Population Projections, U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, August 14, 2008, http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/summarytables.html (accessed September 15, 2008)
Population total310,233325,540341,387357,452373,504389,531405,655422,059439,010
White alone, not Hispanic200,853203,208205,255206,662207,217206,958206,065204,772203,347
Black alone37,98539,91641,84743,70345,46147,14448,78050,38051,949
AIAN alone2,3922,5482,6972,8302,9463,0533,1573,2603,358
Asian alone14,08316,14118,30820,59122,99125,48928,06430,70433,418
NHPI alone452497541585628672716760803
Two or more races4,7435,5196,3747,3098,3299,44210,65011,95013,342
Hispanic49,72657,71166,36575,77285,93196,774108,223120,231132,792

After 2020 Hispanic births are expected to add more people each year to the U.S. population than all other non-white racial and ethnic groups combined. The non-Hispanic white population is projected to rise from 200.9 million in 2010 to 203.1 million in 2050, an increase of 2.2 million, whereas the Hispanic population will increase by 83.1 million (due to high birthrates and continued immigration), from 49.7 million to 132.8 million. (See Table 1.3.) In 2010 non-Hispanic whites will make up 64.7% (200.9 million out of 310.2 million) of the population, whereas Hispanics will make up 16% (49.7 million out of 310.2 million). By contrast, in 2050 non-Hispanic whites are expected to make up 46.3% (203.3 million out of 439 million) of the population, whereas Hispanics will make up 30.2% (132.8 million out of 439 million).

As a result, the youth segment of the U.S. population is becoming more racially diverse. Between 1980 and 2007 the non-Hispanic white share of the under-18 population dropped from 74% to 57%. (See Table 1.2.) During this same period the non-Hispanic African-American share of this population remained stable, increasing only slightly from 15% to 15.4%. In contrast, the Asian or Pacific Islander share of the under-18 population increased from 2% in 1980 to 4.1% in 2007. The Hispanic share of the under-18 population showed the highest increase, from 9% in 1980 to 20.9% in 2007. In other words, in 2007 more than one out of every five children in the United States was of Hispanic origin.

Evidence also suggests that racial and ethnic lines became less rigid in the United States in the last two decades of the twentieth century, as people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds parented children together. In Age: 2000 (October 2001, http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-12.pdf), Julie Meyer of the Census Bureau notes that people who reported in the 2000 census that they came from more than one ethnic or racial background had a significantly younger median age than all single-race groups, at 22.7 years. Nearly four out of ten (41.9%) people with a mixed ethnic or racial background were under the age of 18.

The number of children under the age of 18 with a biracial background continued to increase between 2000 and 2007, from 1.8 million in 2000 to 2.2 million in 2007. (See Table 1.4.) The median age of people of two or more races was young, at 20.6 in 2007. These findings may indicate that distinctions between racial and ethnic groups in the United States will continue to blur in the twenty-first century.

THE CHANGING FAMILY

Family and Household Size

The composition of households in American society changed markedly in the twentieth century. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops of the Census Bureau indicate in Demographic Trends in the 20th Century (November 2002, http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf) that in 1950 families accounted for 89.4% of all households; by 2000 this number had decreased to 68.1%. The proportion of married-couple households that included at least one child under the age of 18 had also decreased. In America's Children in Brief, the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics states that in 1980, 77% of all family groups with children were married-couple households; this percentage had dropped to 67.8% by 2007.

The American family shrank in size during the twentieth century. In 1900 most households consisted of five or more people. According to the Census Bureau, in Families and Living Arrangements (July 2008, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html), by 1950 two-person families became the most common family type and remained so to the end of the century. The proportion of one- and two-person households increased from 1960 to 2007, whereas the

 
TABLE 1.4 Two or more races population by sex and age, 200007
 Population estimatesApril 1, 2000
Sex and ageJuly 1, 2007July 1, 2006July 1, 2005July 1, 2004July 1, 2003July 1, 2002July 1, 2001July 1, 2000Estimates baseCensus
Note: The April 1, 2000 population estimates base reflects changes to the Census 2000 population from the Count Question Resolution program. Median age is calculated based on single year of age.
SOURCE: Table 4. Annual Estimates of the Two or More Races Population by Sex and Age for the United States: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007, U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, May 1, 2008, http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/NC-EST2007-asrh.html (accessed September 21, 2008)
Both sexes4,856,1364,711,9324,571,0794,435,8544,302,3744,177,9614,053,3933,928,0083,897,7223,897,680
Under 18 years2,193,3162,137,5822,081,9632,028,0971,975,0061,924,7861,875,1891,825,3141,813,5331,813,503
    Under 5 years690,757668,430649,218641,200635,577629,893622,839614,660613,159613,147
    5 to 13 years1,090,9881,070,0471,048,6381,018,796988,101956,072924,783892,874885,026885,012
    14 to 17 years411,571399,105384,107368,101351,328338,821327,567317,780315,348315,344
18 to 64 years2,414,9502,337,0962,261,5372,189,3972,117,0192,050,9911,983,2151,914,8621,898,0951,898,085
    18 to 24 years595,702577,053559,768541,865520,448498,852475,557450,114443,508443,537
    25 to 44 years1,111,4461,077,7881,045,9221,019,275994,964976,950959,454942,341938,067938,039
    45 to 64 years707,802682,255655,847628,257601,607575,189548,204522,407516,520516,509
65 years and over247,870237,254227,579218,360210,349202,184194,989187,832186,094186,092
16 years and over2,864,9502,768,0422,671,6992,582,7792,496,7312,417,6252,337,1552,256,8352,237,4932,237,479
18 years and over2,662,8202,574,3502,489,1162,407,7572,327,3682,253,1752,178,2042,102,6942,084,1892,084,177
15 to 44 years2,013,0991,950,2731,888,2031,829,4571,773,5911,725,9731,677,0391,627,3441,614,5051,614,503
Median age (years)20.620.520.420.320.220.120.019.919.819.8
 
TABLE 1.5 Households by size, selected years, 19602007
[Numbers in thousands]
YearAll householdsOne personTwo personsThree personsFour personsFive personsSix personsSeven or more personsPersons per household
SOURCE: Adapted from HH-4. Households by Size: 1960 to Present, in Families and Living Arrangements, U.S. Census Bureau, July 2008, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html#wp (accessed September 15, 2008)
2007116,01131,13238,58018,80816,1727,2022,7021,4152.56
2000104,70526,72434,66617,17215,3096,9812,4451,4282.62
199093,34722,99930,11416,12814,4566,2132,1431,2952.63
198080,77618,29625,32714,13012,6666,0592,5191,7782.76
197063,40110,85118,33310,9499,9916,5483,5343,1953.14
196052,7996,91714,6789,9799,2936,0723,0102,8513.33

proportion of households with three or more people steadily decreased. In addition, average household size declined from 3.14 people in 1970 to 2.56 in 2007. (See Table 1.5.) This is true partly because the population is getting older, which means that a smaller proportion of households consists of parents and their children.

Fewer Traditional Families

One of the more significant social changes to occur in the last decades of the twentieth century was a shift away from the traditional family structurea married couple with their own child or children living in the home. The Census Bureau divides households into two major categories: family households (defined as groups of two or more people living together related by birth, marriage, or adoption) and nonfamily households (consisting of a person living alone or an individual living with others to whom he or she is not related). As a percentage of all households, family households declined during the period 1970 to 2003. According to the Census Bureau, in 1970, 51.5 million (81%) out of 63.4 million total households were family households. (See Table 1.6.) By 2007 only 78.4 million (68%) out of 116 million households were family households.

The rise in nonfamily households is the result of many factors, some of the most prominent being:

  • People are postponing marriage until later in life and are thus living alone or with nonrelatives for a longer period
  • A rising divorce rate translates into more people living alone or with nonrelatives
  • A rise in the number of people who cohabit before or instead of marriage results in higher numbers of non-family households
  • The oldest members of the U.S. population are living longer and often live in nonfamily households as widows/widowers or in institutional settings
 
TABLE 1.6 Households by type, selected years 19402007
[Numbers in thousands]
  Family households   
    Other familyNonfamily households
YearTotal householdsTotalMarried couplesMale householderFemale householderTotalMale householderFemale householder
SOURCE: Adapted from HH-1. Households, by Type: 1940 to Present, in Families and Living Arrangements, U.S. Census Bureau, July 2008, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html#wp (accessed September 15, 2008)
2007116,01178,42558,9455,06314,41637,58717,33820,249
2000104,70572,02555,3114,02812,68732,68014,64118,039
199093,34766,09052,3172,88410,89027,25711,60615,651
198080,77659,55049,1121,7338,70521,2268,80712,419
197063,40151,45644,7281,2285,50011,9454,0637,882
196052,79944,90539,2541,2284,4227,8952,7165,179
195043,55438,83834,0751,1693,5944,7161,6683,048
194034,94931,49126,5711,5103,4103,4581,5991,859

Even though family households were a smaller proportion of all households in 2007 than in 1950, they were still the majority of households. The Census Bureau breaks family households into three categories: married couples with their own children, married couples without children, and other family households. This last category includes single-parent households and households made up of relatives (such as siblings) who live together or grandparents who live with grandchildren without members of the middle generation being present. Of the three categories, the other family household grew the most between 1970 and 2007, increasing from 11.9 million (19%) out of 63.4 million of all households in 1970 to 37.6 million (32%) out of 116 million in 2007. (See Table 1.6.) Married couples headed 44.7 million (71%) out of 63.4 million of households in 1970 but only 58.9 million (51%) out of 116 million in 2007.

One- and Two-Parent Families

Among all families with children, married two-parent families accounted for 25.9 million (87%) out of 29.6 million families in 1970 and 26.8 million (67%) out of 39.9 million families in 2007. (See Table 1.7.) Overall, most households with children are still headed by married couples. However, the decline in the percentage of children being raised in two-parent households has been the subject of much study and attention.

In 2007, 11.7 million (29%) families with children out of a total of 39.9 million were maintained by a single parent, compared to 3.8 million (13%) out of 29.6 million in 1970. (See Table 1.7.) In 2007 mothers maintained over 9.9 million families with children, whereas fathers maintained only 1.7 million; mothers headed families alone nearly six times as often as fathers did. In 1970 this figure was close to nine times as often; in 1970 there were very few single-father families. Between 2000 and 2007 the number of families headed by a single father actually shrank, whereas the number headed by a single mother continued to rise.

The proportion of families headed by a single parent increased from 1980 to 2007 in all racial and ethnic groups. (See Table 1.7.) African-American children were the least likely of all racial and ethnic groups to live in two-parent households throughout this period.

The rise in single-parent families is the result of several factors, all pointing to a change in American lifestyles and values. Among these changes is an escalating divorce rate. The Census Bureau explains in the 2007 American Community Survey (ACS; http://factfinder.census.gov/) that in 2007, 25.3 million individuals in the United States were divorced and had not remarried. This number was nearly four times the 6.5 million divorced individuals in 1975, as reported in the Census Bureau's Current Population Reports, 1975 (June 1975, http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/marr-div/p20-297/p20-297.pdf).

The rise in the number of single-parent family households can also be attributed to the dramatic rise in the number of births to unmarried women. In Births: Final Data for 2005 (National Vital Statistics Reports, vol. 56, no. 6, December 5, 2007), Joyce A. Martin et al. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 36.9% of births in 2005 were to unmarried women. (See Table 1.8.) Nonmarital birthrates differed significantly by race and ethnicity. Hispanic women had the highest birthrate among unmarried mothers in 2005, at 100.3 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. The birthrate for unmarried African-American women that year was 67.8 births per 1,000 women, and for unmarried, non-Hispanic white women it was 30.1 births per 1,000 women. The rate of births to unmarried women was highest among women in their 20s; the birthrate for unmarried women aged 20 to 24 years was 74.9 births per 1,000 women, and the rate for women aged 25 to 29 was 71.1 births per 1,000 women. Unmarried teen birthrates had fallen steadily since the 1990s and hit the lowest ever recorded rate for 15- to 19-year-olds in 2005.

 
TABLE 1.7 All parent/child situations, by type, race, and Hispanic origin of householder or reference person, selected years 19702007
[Numbers in thousands. Family groups with childrena include all parent-child situations (two-parent and one-parent): those that maintain their own household (family households with children); those that live in the home of a relative (related subfamilies); and those that live in the home of a nonrelative (unrelated subfamilies). Data based on the Current Population Survey (CPS).]
  All family groups
     One parent
  Two-parent Maintained by
YearsTotal with children under 18bTotalMarriedUnmarriedTotalMotherFather
NANot available
a Family groups prior to 2007 were restricted to married couple and single-parent families and their own children. In 2007, unmarried two-parent families were added to the table.
Unmarried two-parent family groups are opposite sex partners who have at least one joint child under 18.
b Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
c Householder whose race was reported as only one race.
d Householder whose race was reported as only a single race or in combination with one or more other races.
e Estimates produced using PELNMOM and PELNDAD, the new parent pointer variables introduced in 2007.
SOURCE:Adapted from FM-2. All Parent/Child Situations, by Type, Race, and Hispanic Origin of Householder or Reference Person: 1970 to Present, in Families and Living Arrangements, U.S. Census Bureau, July 2008, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html (accessed September 15, 2008)
All races
2007e39,98328,27626,8021,47411,7079,9651,742
200037,49625,77125,771(N/A)11,7259,6812,044
199034,67024,92124,921(N/A)6,9206,2301,351
198032,15025,23125,231(N/A)6,9206,230690
197029,62625,82325,823(N/A)3,8033,410393
White
2007c,e31,35823,64622,5191,1277,7126,3591,353
200030,07922,24122,241(N/A)7,8386,2161,622
199028,29421,90521,905(N/A)6,3895,3101,079
198027,29422,62822,628(N/A)4,6644,122542
197026,11523,47723,477(N/A)2,6382,330307
Black
2007c,e5,7602,4042,1822223,3563,067289
2007d,e5,9572,5112,2772343,4463,149297
20005,5302,1352,135(N/A)3,3953,060335
19905,0872,0062,006(N/A)3,0812,860221
19804,0741,9611,961(N/A)2,1141,984129
19703,2192,0712,071(N/A)1,1481,06385
Hispanic originb
2007e7,1924,9844,6283562,2081,987221
20005,5033,6253,625(N/A)1,8781,565313
19903,4292,2892,289(N/A)1,1401,003138
19802,1941,6261,626(N/A)56852642
1970(NA)(NA)(NA)(N/A)(NA)(NA)(NA)

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS OF CHILDREN

Single-Parent Families

Many children who live in single-parent households face significant challenges that can be exacerbated by racial and ethnic inequalities. According to the Federal Inter-agency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, in America's Children in Brief, the poverty rate for African-American children was 33% and for Hispanic children was 27%, but for non-Hispanic white children it was only 10%. Children who lived in minority families with a single parent were especially likely to have greatly reduced economic, educational, and social opportunities. Single parents were more likely to have a low income and less education and were more likely to be unemployed and to be renting a home or apartment or living in public housing. In 2004, 10% of children living with married parents lived below the poverty level, whereas 36.5% of children living with an unmarried mother were. (See Table 1.9.) Children living with an unmarried father also had an elevated poverty rate of 16.6%.

Table 1.10 shows the dramatic differences in the proportion of children living with single parents by race and ethnic group. In 2007 children from all backgrounds were much more likely to be living with a single mother (22.6%) than a single father (3.2%), and 67.8% lived with two married parents. Among African-Americans, however, the percent of children who lived with a single mother was much higher (49.8%), whereas only 36.8% lived with married parents.

Nontraditional Families

Many single-parent families, however, are not single adult families; some single parents maintain a household with an unmarried partner. In 1990 the Census Bureau sought to reflect changing lifestyles in the United States

 
TABLE 1.8 Number, birth rate, and percentage of births to unmarried women, by age, race, and Hispanic origin of mother, 2005
  WhiteBlack   
Measure and age of motherAll racesaTotalbNon-HispanicTotalbNon-HispanicAmerican Indian or Alaska NativebAsian or Pacific IslanderbHispanicc
Data not available.
a Includes races other than white and black and origin not stated.
b Race and Hispanic origin are reported separately on the birth certificate. Race categories are consistent with the 1977 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards. Data for persons of Hispanic origin are included in the data for each race group according to the mother's reported race. Nineteen states reported multiple-race data for 2005. The multiple-race data for these states were bridged to the single-race categories of the 1977 OMB standards for comparability with other states.
c Includes all persons of Hispanic origin of any race.
d Birth rates computed by relating total births to unmarried mothers regardless of age of mother to unmarried women aged 1544 years.
e Birth rates compute by relating births to unmarried mothers aged 40 years and over to unmarried women aged 4044 years.
Notes: For 48 states and the District of Columbia marital status is reported in the birth registration process; for Michigan and New York mother's marital status is inferred. Rates cannot be computed for unmarried non-Hispanic black women or for American Indian women because the necessary population are not available.
SOURCE: Joyce A. Martin et al., Table 18. Number, Birth Rate, and Percentage of Births to Unmarried Women by Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin of Mother: United States, 2005, in Births: Final Data for 2005, National Vital Statistics Reports, vol. 56, no. 6, December 5, 2007, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr56/nvsr56_06.pdf (accessed September 15, 2008)
Number
All ages1,527,0341,022,560577,617438,614407,75628,46137,399472,649
Under 15 years6,5903,5201,3042,8332,6941361012,365
1519 years345,413232,747130,15599,90493,6046,9965,766108,457
    15 years17,45810,8464,4695,9615,5883892626,728
    16 years37,93624,97111,59811,48610,75285862114,070
    17 years65,71844,53323,08018,76717,5151,3571,06122,638
    18 years97,36366,12637,97827,68025,8551,9231,63429,846
    19 years126,93886,27153,03036,01033,8942,4692,18835,175
2024 years584,792393,403237,500168,183157,36110,88512,321165,600
2529 years331,820219,861118,27596,52889,0795,9829,449108,316
3034 years161,752107,83253,75945,11141,2192,8885,92157,506
3539 years75,71751,04628,03020,50618,6881,2362,92924,514
40 years and over20,95014,1518,5945,5495,1113389125,891
Rate per 1,000 unmarried women in specified group
1544 yearsd47.543.030.167.824.9100.3
1519 years34.529.920.960.613.168.0
    1517 years19.716.810.335.47.342.7
    1819 years58.450.937.4101.622.1112.4
2024 years74.966.649.1120.729.7150.4
2529 years71.166.345.093.835.1153.5
3034 years50.049.131.254.036.6118.1
3539 years24.523.816.026.124.759.2
4044 yearse6.25.84.27.19.414.3
Percent of births to unmarried women
All ages36.931.725.369.369.963.516.248.0
Under 15 years98.096.698.099.999.9100.097.195.9
1519 years83.378.878.996.196.789.675.779.2
    15 years95.793.795.099.599.897.092.992.9
    16 years92.489.691.599.099.396.088.188.3
    17 years89.085.587.198.298.792.985.484.2
    18 years83.679.280.296.597.189.875.778.4
    19 years77.071.771.893.594.184.867.872.1
2024 years56.249.846.182.683.471.039.957.5
2529 years29.324.418.461.862.353.514.640.6
3034 years17.014.19.244.744.643.67.430.9
3539 years15.713.19.239.739.441.67.528.6
40 years and over18.816.112.539.839.544.510.630.2

by asking for the first time whether unmarried couples maintained households together. Even though in 2000 a slight majority (52%) of U.S. households were headed by married couples, a significant number of unmarried couples also maintained households together. The Census Bureau indicates in the 2007 ACS that in 2007, 6.2 million unmarried couples cohabited in the United States. Most of these couples were opposite-sex couples, but approximately 754,000 of them were same-sex couples.

A significant portion of all coupled households in 2007 contained children under the age of 18. According to the ACS, 4.8 million children lived with a partner and his or her unmarried partner. In America's Families and Living Arrangements : 2007 (July 2008, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2007.html), the Census Bureau finds that among opposite-sex unmarried couples, 2.5 million (39%) out of 6.4 million had at least one child with them. Among married couples, 26.8 million

 
TABLE 1.9 Children by presence and type of parents by poverty status, 2004
[Numbers in thousands]
 ChildrenPercent of children below poverty level
Living arrangements of childrenNumberPercentEstimate
B Base less than 75,000.
a Unmarried includes married spouse absent, widowed, divorced, separated, and never married.
b The category other adult relative does not include the child's siblings.
c Only includes adult nonrelatives who are not in the category married spouse present.
SOURCE: Rose M. Kreider, Table 2. Children by Presence and Type of Parents by Poverty Status: 2004, in Living Arrangements of Children: 2004, U. S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, February 2008, http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-114.pdf (accessed November 2, 2008)
Total73,227100.017.7
Living with no parent2,8783.928.5
Living with an unmarried parenta21,56329.433.7
    Living with unmarried mother and father2,2273.031.4
    Living with unmarried mother only16,97323.236.5
    Living with unmarried father only2,3633.216.6
    Parent has an unmarried partner3,8575.331.8
    Biological mother and father1,8142.532.4
    Biological mother, step or adoptive father3240.426.9
    Biological father, step or adoptive mother870.128.7
    Biological mother, partner1,2711.736.2
    Biological father, partner3080.419.8
    Step or adoptive parent, partner510.1(B)
    Parent has no unmarried partner17,70524.234.2
    Biological mother15,30320.936.6
      Living with other adult relativeb3,1974.423.9
      Living with opposite sex adult nonrelativec3800.532.1
    Biological father1,9722.715.8
      Living with other adult relativeb3750.515.5
      Living with opposite sex adult nonrelativec660.1(B)
    Stepparent or adoptive parent4290.631.9

(44%) out of 60.7 million had children under the age of 18 living with them. Same-sex partnered households also often contained children. According to Tavia Simmons and Martin O'Connell of the Census Bureau, in Married-Couple and Unmarried-Partner Households: 2000 (February 2003, http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/censr-5.pdf), in 2000, the most recent year for which data are available, nearly a quarter (22.3%) of households headed by male partners had children living in them, and a third (34.3%) of households headed by female partners had children living with them. One out of 20 (5.3%) children lived with a parent and his or her unmarried partner in 2004. (See Table 1.9.)

Grandparents

Grandparents sometimes provide housing for, and sometimes reside in, the homes of their children and grandchildren. According to the Child Trends Databank (2007, http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/tables/59_Table_2.htm), in 2006, 5.1% of children under the age of 18 lived in the homes of their grandparents, and 2% lived with their grandparents without a parent present. This percentage remained fairly steady from 1970 to 2006, varying from a low of 1.3% in 1992 to the high of 2.2% in 2005. These caretaking grandparents were responsible for most of the basic needs (food, shelter, and clothing) of one or more of the grandchildren living with them.

Living and caretaking arrangements of grandparents and grandchildren varied by race and ethnicity in 2007. The Census Bureau explains in America's Families and Living Arrangements that non-Hispanic white children were less likely to live with their grandparents than Hispanic, Asian-American, and African-American childrenonly 5.5% of white children lived with their grandparents, whereas 10.4% of Hispanic children, 12.2% of Asian-American children, and 14.1% of African-American children did. However, African-American children were much more likely than other groups to be living with a grandparent with no parent present. Of all children living with their grandparents in 2004, 38% of African-American children, 23% of non-Hispanic white children, 16% of Hispanic children, and 4% of Asian-American children had no parent present in the home. (See Figure 1.1.)

The homes maintained by grandparents without parents present were more likely to experience economic hardship than families with a parent present, reflecting the often limited and fixed resources of senior citizens. In Children's Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002 (June 2003, http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20547.pdf), Jason Fields of the Census Bureau states that of all grandchildren, 18% lived below the poverty line in 2002, 23% were not covered by health insurance, and 9% received public assistance. Among children who lived with their grandparents with their parents absent, the numbers were much higher: 30% were below the poverty line, 36% were not covered by health insurance, and 17% received public assistance. These numbers suggest that children who live with their grandparents without a parent present are at an economic disadvantage; grandchildren's presence in their grandparents' home without an economic contribution from the middle generation appears to severely tax the economic resources of grandparents.

Foster Care and Adoption

There is currently no comprehensive federal registry system for adoptions, which can be arranged by government agencies, private agencies, or through private arrangements between birth mothers and adoptive parents with the assistance of lawyers. The federally funded National Center for Social Statistics collected information on all finalized adoptions from 1957 to 1975, but with the dissolution of the center, limited statistical information is now available.

TABLE 1.10 Percentage of children under age 18, by presence of married parents in household and race and Hispanic origin, 19802007
Racea and Hispanic origin, and family structure 198019801981198219831984198519861987198819891990199119921993
Total
Two parents
Two married parents7776757575747473737373727171
Mother only1818202020212121212222222323
Father only22222233333333
No parent44333333333333
White, non-Hispanic
Two married parents81807979
Mother only15151616
Father only3333
No parent2211
White-alone, non-Hispanic
Two parents
Two married parents
Mother only
Father only
No parent
Black
Two married parents4243424141394140393838363636
Mother only4443475150515150515151545454
Father only23223323334433
No parent1211866767778777
Black-alone
Two parents
Two married parents
Mother only
Father only
No parent
Hispanicc
Two parents
Two married parents7570696870686666666767666565
Mother only2023252725272828272827272828
Father only22222233333344
No parent34433334423434
Racea and Hispanic origin, and family structure19941995199619971998199920002001200220032004200520062007
Total
Two parents70.7
Two married parents69696868686869696968.467.867.367.467.8
Mother only23232424232322222323.023.323.423.322.6
Father only3444444454.64.64.84.73.2
No parent4444444444.14.34.54.63.5
White, non-Hispanic
Two married parents797877777677777877
Mother only161616171616161616
Father only334454444
No parent333333323
White-alone, non-Hispanic
Two parents78.6
Two married parents76.976.975.975.976.2
Mother only15.915.916.416.015.3
Father only4.34.34.84.83.6
No parent2.92.92.93.22.5

With the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, there was a renewed effort to improve the data available about adoption. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), now tracks adoptions arranged through the foster care system, but this represents only some of the children adopted by American families each year.

In The AFCARS Report (September 2006, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report14.htm), AFCARS states that on September 30, 2006, 510,000 children were living in foster homes with foster parents. Foster parents are trained people supervised by local social service agencies who provide space in their home and care for children who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned, or whose parents have surrendered them to public

TABLE 1.10 Percentage of children under age 18, by presence of married parents in household and race and Hispanic origin, 19802007 [CONTINUED]
Racea and Hispanic origin, and family structure19941995199619971998199920002001200220032004200520062007
Not available.
a For race and Hispanic-origin data in this table: From 1980 to 2002, following the 1977 OMB standards for collecting and presenting data on race, the Current Population Survey (CPS) asked respondents to choose one race from the following: white, black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, or Asian or Pacific Islander. The Census Bureau also offered an other category. Beginning in 2003, following the 1997 OMB standards for collecting and presenting data on race, the CPS asked respondents to choose one or more races from the following: white, black, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. All race groups discussed in this table from 2003 onward refer to people who indicated only one racial identity within the racial categories presented. People who responded to the question on race by indicating only one race are referred to as the race-alone population. The use of the race-alone population in this table does not imply that it is the preferred method of presenting or analyzing data. Data from 2003 onward are not directly comparable with data from earlier years. Data on race and Hispanic origin are collected separately. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
b Beginning with March 2001, data are from the expanded CPS sample and use population controls based on Census 2000.
c Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Note: Prior to 2007, CPS data identified only one parent on the child's record. This meant that a second parent could only be identified if they were married to the first parent. In 2007, a second parent identifier was added to CPS. This permits identification of two coresident parents, even if the parents are not married to each other. In this table, two parents reflects all children who have both a mother and father identified in the household, including biological, step and adoptive parents. Before 2007, mother only and father only included some children who lived with a parent who was living with the other parent of the child, but was not married to them. Beginning in 2007, mother only and father only refer to children for whom only one parent has been identified, whether biological, step or adoptive.
SOURCE: FAM1.A. Family Structure and Children's Living Arrangements: Percentage of Children Ages 017 by Presence of Married Parents in Household, and Race and Hispanic Origin, 19802007, in America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2008, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, July 2008, http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables.asp (accessed September 15, 2008)
Black
Two married parents333333353635383838
Mother only535253525152494848
Father only444544455
No parent1011989109108
Black-alone
Two parents39.8
Two married parents36.035.035.034.636.8
Mother only51.050.050.251.249.8
Father only5.06.05.04.83.5
No parent9.09.09.89.46.8
Hispanicc
Two parents69.8
Two married parents63636264646365656564.664.664.765.965.5
Mother only28282927272725252524.525.425.425.024.5
Father only4444454555.55.34.84.12.1
No parent5455555655.34.75.15.03.6

agencies because they are unable to care for them. According to the American Public Welfare Association, foster care is the most common type of substitute care, but children needing substitute care might also live in group homes, emergency shelters, child care facilities, hospitals, correctional institutions, or on their own. It is becoming more difficult to place children in foster care. The number of potential foster care families is down, due in part to the fact that women, the primary providers of foster care, are entering the paid labor force in greater numbers.

AFCARS estimates that in fiscal year 2006, 303,000 children younger than 18 years old entered foster care, with an average age of 8.1 years. A disproportionate share of children entering foster care were African-American26% of children entering foster care were African-American, but according to the Census Bureau's National Population EstimatesCharacteristics (April 30, 2008, http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/), only 17% of all Americans under the age of 18 were African-American (alone or in combination) in that year. Non-Hispanic white children were underrepresented among those entering foster care45% were non-Hispanic white children, compared to 57% of all non-Hispanic white children under the age of 18. Hispanic and Native American or Alaskan Native children were more proportionally represented19% entering foster care were Hispanic (compared to 20% of children in the general population), and 2% were Native American or Alaskan Native (compared to 2% of children in the general population). Asian-American children were underrepresented in foster care; only 1% of children in foster care were Asian-American, compared to 5% of all children in the general population.

A child's stay in foster care can vary from just a few days to many years. Fifteen percent of children who left foster care in fiscal year 2006 had been in care less than a month, 34% had been in care from one to 11 months, 23% had been in care from one to two years, and 28% had lived in foster care for two years or longer. (See Table 1.11.)

AFCARS states that more than half (53%) of the children who left foster care in fiscal year 2006 were reunited with their parents. (See Table 1.11.) About one out of 10 (11%) of these children moved to a relative's or guardian's home. Nine percent were emancipated, or aged out of the system when they turned 18 years old, and 17% of the children who left foster care were adopted.

 

According to AFCARS, adopted children were on average younger (6.6 years) than children still in foster care (9.8 years), reflecting the preference of adoptive parents for younger children. Of those adopted children in fiscal year 2006, 25,994 were male and 25,006 were female. (See Table 1.12.) Foster parents adopted 59% of these children, relatives adopted 26%, and nonrelatives who had not fostered the child previously adopted 15%. Even though traditional families (married couples) made up slightly more than two-thirds (69%) of families who adopted children from foster care, a significant share were nontraditional families26% of adopters were single women, 3% were single men, and 2% were unmarried couples.

In 1996 the federal government began providing incentives to potential adoptive parents to move children into adoptive homes more quickly. The government provided a $5,000 tax credit for adoptive parents to cover adoption expenses; the credit was $6,000 if the adopted child had

 
TABLE 1.11 Children who exited foster care, fiscal year 2006
Note: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. PI = Pacific Islander.
SOURCE: Adapted from How Many Children Exited Foster Care during FY 2006? in The AFCARS Report, no. 14, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, January 2008, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report14.htm (accessed September 15, 2008)
How many children exited foster care during fiscal year 2006? 289,000
What were the ages of the children who exited care during fiscal year 2006?
Mean years9.8 
Median years9.5 
Less than 1 year5%13,948
1 year7%19,929
2 years7%19,851
3 years6%17,770
4 years6%15,960
5 years5%14,355
6 years5%13,276
7 years4%12,776
8 years4%11,402
9 years4%10,584
10 years3%10,044
11 years3%9,803
12 years4%10,201
13 years4%11,128
14 years5%13,364
15 years6%16,355
16 years6%18,264
17 years9%24,597
18 years7%19,230
19 years1%3,599
20 years1%2,561
What were the outcomes for the children exiting foster care during fiscal year 2006?
Reunification with parent(s) or primary caretaker(s)53%154,103
Living with other relative(s)11%30,751
Adoption17%50,379
Emancipation9%26,517
Guardianship5%15,010
Transfer to another agency2%6,683
Runaway2%5,049
Death of child0%509
What were the lengths of stay of the children who exited foster care during fiscal year 2006?
Mean months20.9 
Median months12.2 
Less than 1 month15%42,960
1 to 5 months16%47,506
6 to 11 months18%52,921
12 to 17 months14%39,485
18 to 23 months9%26,487
24 to 29 months7%19,128
30 to 35 months5%13,604
3 to 4 years9%26,415
5 years or more7%20,492
What was the race/ethnicity of the children who exited care during fiscal year 2006?
AI/ANnon-Hispanic2%6,243
Asiannon-Hispanic1%2,384
Blacknon-Hispanic27%77,720
Hawaiian/PInon-Hispanic0%840
Hispanic18%51,711
Whitenon-Hispanic46%130,945
Unknown/unable to determine2%6,910
Two or morenon-Hispanic4%10,246

special needs. Children with special needs were defined as those with physical, mental, or emotional problems; children needing to be adopted with siblings; or children who were difficult to place because of age, race, or ethnicity. In

 
TABLE 1.12 Children adopted from the public foster care system, fiscal year 2006
How many children were adopted with public agency involvement in fiscal year (FY) 2006? 51,000
What is the gender distribution of the children adopted from the public foster care system?
Male51%25,994
Female49%25,006
How old were the children when they were adopted from the public foster care system?
Mean years6.6 
Median years5.4 
Less than 1 year2%1,099
1 year11%5,567
2 years13%6,735
3 years11%5,647
4 years9%4,666
5 years8%3,914
6 years7%3,562
7 years6%3,063
8 years5%2,686
9 years5%2,422
10 years4%2,138
11 years4%2,012
12 years4%1,785
13 years3%1,618
14 years3%1,378
15 years2%1,070
16 years2%830
17 years1%636
18 years0%148
19 years0%17
20 years0%6
What percentage of the children adopted receive an adoption subsidy?
Yes89%45,541
No11%5,459
What is the racial/ethnic distribution of the children adopted from the public foster care system?
AI/ANnon-Hispanic1%693
Asiannon-Hispanic1%289
Blacknon-Hispanic27%13,783
Hawaiian/PInon-Hispanic0%125
Hispanic19%9,569
Whitenon-Hispanic45%22,979
Unknown/unable to determine2%1,049
Two or morenon-Hispanic5%2,512
How many months did it take after termination of parental rights for the children to be adopted?
Mean months14.5 
Median months10.4 
Less than 1 month3%1,576
1 thru 5 months22%11,325
6 thru 11 months32%16,379
12 thru 17 months18%9,320
18 thru 23 months10%4,988
24 thru 29 months5%2,638
30 thru 35 months3%1,424
3 thru 4 years5%2,322
5 years or more2%1,028
What is the family structure of the child's adoptive family?
Married couple69%35,278
Unmarried couple2%857
Single female26%13,370
Single male3%1,496

2002 the tax credit was increased to $10,000 to cover adoption expenses for children without special needs; adoptive parents of special-needs children, including many children from foster care, received the full amount of the tax

TABLE 1.12 Children adopted from the public foster care system, fiscal year 2006 [CONTINUED]
What was the relationship of the adoptive parents to the child prior to the adoption?
Note: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. PI = Pacific Islander.
Using U.S. Bureau of the Census standards, children of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Beginning in FY 2000, children could be identified with more than one race designation.
SOURCE: Adapted from How Many Children Were Adopted with Public Agency Involvement in FY 2006? in The AFCARS Report, no. 14, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, January 2008, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report14.htm (accessed September 15, 2008)
Non-relative15%7,646
Foster parent59%29,997
Step-parent0%36
Other relative26%13,321

credit regardless of incurred expenses. This tax credit has been adjusted for inflation in subsequent years and was $12,150 in 2009.

In addition, Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997, providing fiscal incentives to states to move children from foster care into adoptive families more quickly. States that increased the number of adoptions of foster children (in a given year over a base year) received a standard payment of $4,000 per adopted child and an additional $2,000 for the adoption of each special-needs child and an additional $4,000 for the adoption of each child aged nine and older.

Despite these incentives, many children who enter foster care will never have a permanent family, but instead will age out of the system. On September 30, 2006, there were 129,000 children whose parents' rights had been terminated living in foster homes. (See Table 1.13.) These waiting children were disproportionately African-American. Whereas 17% of all children under the age of 18 were African-American and 26% of children entering foster care were African-American in 2006, 32% of waiting children were African-American. The majority (54%) of waiting children lived in foster homes with nonrelatives while waiting to be adopted.

Living Arrangements of Young Adults

A young person's transition into adult independence does not necessarily occur at age 18. The marriage age has risen since the 1950s, and, as obtaining a college education has become the norm, young people have delayed finding employment that allows them to support themselves independently of their parents. A growing number of young adults older than the age of 18 continue to live in, or return to, their parents' homes. Some young people live with their parents until their mid-20s, and others are likely to return home at some time after moving out, especially after college or service in the military. Many young adults also share households with others.

 
TABLE 1.13 Children waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2006
How many children were waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2006? 129,000 What is the gender distribution of the waiting children?
Male53%68,006
Female47%60,994
How many months have the waiting children been in continuous foster care?
Mean months39.4 
Median months28.9 
Less than 1 month1%656
1 through 5 months4%4,843
6 through 11 months9%11,079
12 through 17 months14%17,463
18 through 23 months14%17,557
24 through 29 months12%15,536
30 through 35 months9%11,767
36 through 59 months20%25,792
60 or more months19%24,307
What is the racial/ethnic distribution of the waiting children?
AI/ANnon-Hispanic2%2,223
Asiannon-Hispanic1%651
Blacknon-Hispanic32%41,591
Hawaiian/PInon-Hispanic0%301
Hispanic20%25,481
Whitenon-Hispanic38%49,637
Unknown/unable to determine3%3,362
Two or morenon-Hispanic4%5,754
How old were the waiting children when they were removed from their parents or caretakers?
Mean years4.9 
Median years4.2 
Less than 1 year25%32,082
1 year9%11,270
2 years8%9,920
3 years7%9,139
4 years7%8,836
5 years7%8,449
6 years6%8,269
7 years6%7,645
8 years5%6,956
9 years5%6,220
10 years4%5,552
11 years4%4,647
12 years3%3,811
13 years2%2,850
14 years1%1,856
15 years1%1,041
16 years0%372
17 years0%87
Where were the waiting children living on September 30, 2006?
Pre-adoptive home13%16,163
Foster family home (relative)21%27,619
Foster family home (non-relative)54%70,230
Group home4%4,834
Institution6%8,216
Supervised independent living0%109
Runaway1%982
Trial home visit1%847

Socioeconomic experts attribute this phenomenon to the rising cost of living in the United States. Wages have not increased at the same rate as the cost of living; therefore, the same amount of money buys less than it did in previous years. Furthermore, credit markets tightened during the economic recession that began in 2008, which made it difficult to qualify for a mortgage and may have further delayed young people leaving home. At the same time, foreclosures skyrocketed; young adults who found themselves in foreclosure may have returned to their parents' homes.

TABLE 1.13 Children waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2006 [CONTINUED]
How old were the waiting children on September 30, 2006?
Note: AI/AN = American Indian/Alaska Native. PI = Pacific Islander.
Using U.S. Bureau of the Census standards, children of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Beginning in fiscal year 2000, children could be identified with more than one race designation.
SOURCE: Adapted from How Many Children Were Waiting to Be Adopted on September 30, 2006? in The AFCARS Report, no. 14, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, January 2008, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report14.htm (accessed September 15, 2008)
Mean years8.2 
Median years7.7 
Less than 1 year4%5,102
1 year9%11,023
2 years8%10,420
3 years7%9,463
4 years6%8,362
5 years6%7,840
6 years6%7,150
7 years5%6,978
8 years5%6,688
9 years5%6,372
10 years5%6,208
11 years5%6,267
12 years5%6,473
13 years5%6,844
14 years5%6,907
15 years6%7,207
16 years4%5,607
17 years3%4,089

In 2007, 14.4 million young men and 13.9 million young women between the ages of 18 and 24 lived in their parents' homes. (See Table 1.14; this figure includes those who were living in college dormitories who were still counted as residing at their parental residences.) Males in this age group were more likely (54.7%) than females (47.6%) to live with their parents. This was primarily because men tend to marry at a later age than women do. Almost all men and women in this age group who lived with their parents had never been married. Jason Fields of the Census Bureau indicates in America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003 (November 2004, http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-553.pdf) that the percentage of both men and women aged 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 that had never married rose dramatically between 1970 and 2003, but that the percentage of men who had never married was consistently higher. The Census Bureau notes in America's Families and Living Arrangements : 2007 that these percents held constant in 2007.

Young adults who live by themselves for any length of time are unlikely to return home after experiencing independence. By contrast, those who move in with roommates or who cohabit without marrying are more likely to return to the parental home if the living situation does not work out or the relationship fails. Some young people struggle on their own only to return home for respite from financial pressures, loneliness, or because they need emotional support or security.

 
TABLE 1.14 Young adults living at home, selected years 19602007
[Numbers in thousands. Data based on Current Population Survey (CPS).]
MaleFemale
AgeTotalChild of householderPercentTotalChild of householderPercent
Note: In CPS data, unmarried college students living in dormitories are counted as living in their parent(s) home.
SOURCE: Adapted from Table AD-1. Young Adults Living at Home: 1960 to Present, in Families and Living Arrangements, U.S. Census Bureau, July 2008, http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html (accessed September 15, 2008)
18 to 24 years
200714,4097,88054.713,9766,64847.6
200614,1007,57353.713,8416,46646.7
200514,0607,44853.013,9336,41346.0
200414,1658,01056.513,6116,32746.5
200313,8117,56954.813,5926,21545.7
200213,6967,57555.313,6026,25246.0
200113,4127,38555.113,3616,06845.4
200013,2917,59357.113,2426,23247.1
199012,4507,23258.112,8606,13547.7
1980 census14,2787,75554.314,8446,33642.7
1970 census10,3985,64154.311,9594,94141.3
1960 census6,8423,58352.47,8762,75034.9
25 to 34 years
200720,0022,84914.219,8281,8509.3
200619,8242,84014.319,6531,7318.8
200519,6562,66013.519,6321,5978.1
200419,5532,72013.919,5871,5598.0
200319,5432,63113.519,6591,3757.0
200219,2202,61013.619,4281,6188.3
200119,3082,52013.119,5271,5838.1
200018,5632,38712.919,2221,6028.3
199021,4623,21315.021,7791,7748.1
1980 census18,1071,89410.518,6891,3007.0
1970 census11,9291,1299.512,6378296.6
1960 census10,8961,18510.911,5878537.4

Even if they do not settle into careers immediately, most young adults living at home work for wages. Those young people who lived away from home and then moved back were more likely to pay rent or make some financial contribution to the household than those who never lived on their own, even if they were employed.

HOW LONG DO THEY STAY? Young men are more likely than young women to stay with their parents indefinitely. This may be because young men typically lose less of their autonomy when they return home than young women do. Young women report they have more responsibility to help around the house and more rules to obey than do their young male counterparts.

Children and Families in the United States

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Chapter 1
Children and Families in the United States

DEFINING CHILDHOOD AND ADULTHOOD

Exactly when childhood ends and adulthood begins differs among cultures and over periods of time within cultures. People in some societies believe that adulthood begins with the onset of puberty, arguing that people who are old enough to have children are also old enough to assume adult responsibilities. This stage of life is often solemnized with special celebrations. In the Jewish tradition, for example, the bar mitzvah ceremony for thirteen-year-old boys and the bat mitzvah ceremony for thirteen-year-old girls commemorates the attainment of adult responsibility for observing Jewish law.

Modern American society identifies an interim period of life between childhood and adulthood known as adolescence, during which teens reach a series of milestones as they accept increasing amounts of adult responsibility. At age sixteen most Americans can be licensed to drive. At eighteen most young people leave the public education system and are eligible to vote. At that time they can be tried as adults in the court system and join the military without parental permission. There are contradictions in the rights and privileges conferred, however. In many states teens under the age of eighteen can marry but cannot view or purchase pornographic material.

In general, American society recognizes twenty-one as the age of full adulthood. At twenty-one young men and women are considered legally independent of their parents and are completely responsible for their own decisions. They are allowed to buy alcoholic beverages and become eligible to apply for some jobs in the federal government.

According to the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, in America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2006 (http://childstats.gov/americaschildren/pop.asp), in 2004 seventy-three million children younger than the age of eighteen lived in the United States, almost a million more than in 2000. This number is expected to increase to eighty million by 2020. However, because the country's entire population will increase, the percentage of children in the population is projected to remain fairly steady, decreasing slightly from 25% in 2004 to 24% by 2020.

BIRTH AND FERTILITY RATES

Fertility is measured in a number of ways. One such measure, called the crude birthrate, is the number of live births per 1,000 women in the population, regardless of their age, in any given year. In 2004 the crude birthrate was 14 live births per 1,000 women. The crude birthrate for Hispanic women (of any race) was considerably higher (22.9) than for Asian and Pacific Islander women (16.8), non-Hispanic African-American women (15.8), Native American or Alaskan Native women (14), and non-Hispanic white women (11.6). (See Table 1.1.)

Another way to measure the number of births is the fertility rate, the number of live births per 1,000 women in the population between the ages of fifteen and forty-four years in any given year. These are the years generally considered to be a woman's reproductive age range. During the first ten years of the baby boom that immediately followed World War II (1939–45), fertility rates were well over 100 births per 1,000 women per year. (See Table 1.1.) In contrast, the fertility rate for American women in 2004 was 66.3 births per 1,000 women, just over half the 1960 fertility rate of 118 births per 1,000 women. However, some groups in American society have much higher fertility rates than average. In 2004 the fertility rate for Hispanic women was 97.8 births per 1,000 women; for Asian and Pacific Islander women, 67.1; for non-Hispanic African-American women, 67; and for non-Hispanic white women, 58.4.

Birth Trends

In "Projected Total Fertility Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin, 1999 to 2100" (January 13, 2000,

TABLE 1.1
Crude birth rates, fertility rates, and birth rates by age of mother, according to race and Hispanic origin, selected years 1950–2004
[Data are based on birth certificates]
Race, Hispanic origin, and yearCrude birth rateaFertility ratebAge of mother
10-14 years15-19 years20-24 years25-29 years30-34 years35-39 years40-44 years45-54 yearsc
Total15-17 years18-19 years
All racesLive births per 1,000 women
195024.1106.21.081.640.7132.7196.6166.1103.752.915.11.2
196023.7118.00.889.143.9166.7258.1197.4112.756.215.50.9
197018.487.91.268.338.8114.7167.8145.173.331.78.10.5
198015.968.41.153.032.582.1115.1112.961.919.83.90.2
198515.866.31.251.031.079.6108.3111.069.124.04.00.2
199016.770.91.459.937.588.6116.5120.280.831.75.50.2
199514.664.61.356.035.587.7107.5108.881.134.06.60.3
200014.465.90.947.726.978.1109.7113.591.239.78.00.5
200213.964.80.743.023.272.8103.6113.691.541.48.30.5
200314.166.10.641.622.470.7102.6115.695.143.88.70.5
200414.066.30.741.122.170.0101.7115.595.345.48.90.5
Race of child:d white
195023.0102.30.470.031.3120.5190.4165.1102.651.414.51.0
196022.7113.20.479.435.5154.6252.8194.9109.654.014.70.8
197017.484.10.557.429.2101.5163.4145.971.930.07.50.4
198014.964.70.644.725.272.1109.5112.460.418.53.40.2
Race of mother:e white
198015.165.60.645.425.573.2111.1113.861.218.83.50.2
198515.064.10.643.324.470.4104.1112.369.923.33.70.2
199015.868.30.750.829.578.0109.8120.781.731.55.20.2
199514.163.60.849.529.680.2104.7111.783.334.26.40.3
200013.965.30.643.223.372.3106.6116.794.640.27.90.4
200213.564.80.539.420.568.0101.6117.495.542.48.20.5
200313.666.10.538.319.866.2100.6119.599.344.88.70.5
200413.566.10.537.719.565.099.2118.699.146.48.90.5
Race of child:d black or African American
196031.9153.54.3156.1--295.4218.6137.173.921.91.1
197025.3115.45.2140.7101.4204.9202.7136.379.641.912.51.0
198022.188.14.3100.073.6138.8146.3109.162.924.55.80.3
Race of mother:e black or African American
198021.384.94.397.872.5135.1140.0103.959.923.55.60.3
198520.478.84.595.469.3132.4135.0100.257.923.94.60.3
199022.486.84.9112.882.3152.9160.2115.568.728.15.50.3
199517.871.04.194.468.5135.0133.795.663.028.46.00.3
200017.070.02.377.449.0118.8141.3100.365.431.57.20.4
200215.765.81.866.640.0107.6127.199.064.431.57.40.4
200315.766.31.663.838.2103.7126.1100.466.533.27.70.5
200416.067.61.663.337.2104.4127.7103.667.934.07.90.5
American Indian or Alaska Native motherse
198020.782.71.982.251.5129.5143.7106.661.828.18.2*
198519.878.61.779.247.7124.1139.1109.662.627.46.0*
199018.976.21.681.148.5129.3148.7110.361.527.55.9*
199515.363.01.672.944.6122.2123.191.656.524.35.5*
200014.058.71.158.334.197.1117.291.855.524.65.70.3
200213.858.00.953.830.789.2112.691.856.425.45.80.3
200313.858.41.053.130.687.3110.093.557.425.45.50.4
200414.058.90.952.530.087.0109.792.858.026.86.00.2

http://www.census.gov/population/projections/nation/summary/np-t7-a.pdf), the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that total fertility rates among racial and ethnic groups are expected to differ markedly in the twenty-first century. Total fertility rate refers to the average number of children a woman will give birth to in her lifetime. The total fertility rate of white women is expected to rise slightly through the century but not to reach the population replacement rate (the fertility rate needed to keep the population stable). The total fertility rate for African-American, non-Hispanic women will remain steady at about the population replacement rate. Native American and Asian total fertility rates are expected to decrease slightly but remain well above the population replacement rate through the twenty-first century. The Hispanic total fertility rate is also expected to decrease from a high of 2,920.5 births per 1,000 women over their lifetimes in

TABLE 1.1
Crude birth rates, fertility rates, and birth rates by age of mother, according to race and Hispanic origin, selected years 1950–2004 [continued]
[Data are based on birth certificates]
Race, Hispanic origin, and yearCrude birth rateaFertility ratebAge of mother
10-14 years15-19 years20-24 years25-29 years30-34 years35-39 years40-44 years45-54 yearsc
Total15-17 years18-19 years
—Data not available.
*Rates based on fewer than 20 births are considered unreliable and are not shown.
aLive births per 1,000 population.
bTotal number of live births regardless of age of mother per 1,000 women 15-44 years of age.
cPrior to 1997, data are for live births to mothers 45-49 years of age per 1,000 women 45-49 years of age. Starting with 1997 data, rates are for live births to mothers 45-54 years of age per 1,000 women 45-49 years of age.
dLive births are tabulated by race of child.
eLive births are tabulated by race and/or Hispanic origin of mother.
fPrior to 1993, data from states lacking an Hispanic-origin item on the birth certificate were excluded. Rates in 1985 were not calculated because estimates for the Hispanic and non-Hispanic populations were not available.
Notes: Data are based on births adjusted for underregistration for 1950 and on registered births for all other years. Starting with 1970 data, births to persons who were not residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia are excluded. Starting with Health, United States, 2003, rates for 1991–1999 were revised using intercensal population estimates based on the 2000 census. Rates for 2000 were computed using the 2000 census counts and starting in 2001 rates were computed using 2000-based postcensal estimates. The race groups, white, black, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, include persons of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. Starting with 2003 data, some states reported multiple-race data. The multiple-race data for these states were bridged to the single race categories of the 1977 Office of Management and Budget standards for comparability with other states. Interpretation of trend data should take into consideration expansion of reporting areas and immigration.
Source: "Table 4. Crude Birth Rates, Fertility Rates, and Birth Rates by Age, Race and Hispanic Origin of Mother: United States, Selected Years 1950–2004," in Health, United States, 2006, with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 2006, http://0-www.cdc.gov.mill1.sjlibrary.org/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf (accessed February 6, 2007)
Asian or Pacific Islander motherseLive births per 1,000 women
198019.973.20.326.212.046.293.3127.496.038.38.50.7
198518.768.40.423.812.540.883.6123.093.642.78.71.2
199019.069.60.726.416.040.279.2126.3106.549.610.71.1
199516.762.60.725.515.640.164.2103.7102.350.111.80.8
200017.165.80.320.511.632.660.3108.4116.559.012.60.8
200216.564.10.318.39.031.560.4105.4109.656.512.50.9
200316.866.30.217.48.829.859.6108.5114.659.913.50.9
200416.867.10.217.38.929.659.8108.6116.962.113.61.0
Hispanic or Latino motherse, f
198023.595.41.782.252.1126.9156.4132.183.239.910.60.7
199026.7107.72.4100.365.9147.7181.0153.098.345.310.90.7
199524.198.82.699.368.3145.4171.9140.490.543.710.70.6
200023.195.91.787.355.5132.6161.3139.997.146.611.50.6
200222.694.41.483.450.7133.0164.3139.495.147.811.50.7
200322.996.91.382.349.7132.0163.4144.4102.050.812.20.7
200422.997.81.382.649.7133.5165.3145.6104.152.912.40.7
White, not Hispanic or Latino motherse, f
198014.262.40.441.222.467.7105.5110.659.917.73.00.1
199014.462.80.542.523.266.697.5115.379.430.04.70.2
199512.557.50.439.322.066.290.2105.181.532.85.90.3
200012.258.50.332.615.857.591.2109.493.238.87.30.4
200211.757.40.228.513.151.984.3109.394.440.97.60.5
200311.858.50.227.412.450.083.5110.897.643.28.10.5
200411.658.40.226.712.048.781.9110.097.144.88.20.5
Black or African American, not Hispanic or Latino motherse, f
198022.990.74.6105.177.2146.5152.2111.765.225.85.80.3
199023.089.05.0116.284.9157.5165.1118.470.228.75.60.3
199518.272.84.297.270.4139.2137.898.564.428.86.10.3
200017.371.42.479.250.1121.9145.4102.866.531.87.20.4
200216.167.41.968.341.0110.3131.0102.166.132.17.50.4
200315.967.11.664.738.7105.3128.1102.167.433.47.70.5
200415.867.01.663.137.1103.9126.9103.067.433.77.80.5

1999 to 2,333.8 births per 1,000 women in 2100—a rate still well above the population replacement rate and well above the rates of other ethnic and racial groups. As a result, the proportion of American children who are non-Hispanic white is expected to decrease from 59% in 2004 to 53% in 2020, and the proportion of children who are Hispanic is expected to increase from 19% in 2004 to 24% in 2020, whereas other race and ethnic groups will proportionally stay about the same. (See Figure 1.1.)

After 2020 Hispanic births are expected to add more people each year to the U.S. population than all other non-white racial/ethnic groups combined. By 2010 the Hispanic-origin population will likely become the nation's second-largest group. The white, non-Hispanic population will drop from 69.4% of the total population in 2000 to 50.1% in 2050, whereas the Hispanic population will rise from 12.6% of the total population in 2000 to 24.4% in 2050. (See Table 1.2.)

As a result, the youth segment of the U.S. population is becoming more racially diverse. Between 1980 and 2004 the non-Hispanic white share of the under-eighteen population dropped from 74% to 59%. (See Figure 1.1.) During the same period the non-Hispanic African-American share of this population remained stable, increasing only slightly from 15% to 16%. In contrast, the Asian and Pacific Islander share of the under-eighteen population increased from 2% in 1980 to 4% in 2004. The Hispanic share of the under-eighteen population showed the highest increase, from 9% in 1980 to 19% in 2004. In 2004 almost one out of every five children in the United States (19%) was of Hispanic origin.

Evidence also suggests that racial and ethnic lines became less rigid in the United States in the last two decades of the twentieth century, as people from different ethnic and racial backgrounds parented children together. People who reported in the 2000 census that they came from more than one ethnic or racial background had a significantly younger median age than all single-race groups, at 22.7 years. (See Figure 1.2.) Almost one out of two people (41.9%) with a mixed ethnic or racial background were under the age of eighteen. This finding may indicate that distinctions between racial and ethnic groups in the United States will continue to blur in the twenty-first century.

CHANGING FAMILY

Family and Household Size

The composition of households in American society changed markedly in the twentieth century. According to Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, in Demographic Trends in the 20th Century (November 2002, http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf), in 1950 families accounted for 89.4% of all households; by 2000 that number had decreased to 68.1%. The proportion of married-couple households that included at least one child under the age of eighteen had also decreased. In 1980 nearly 80% of all family groups with children were married-couple households; that percentage had dropped to only 72% by 2003. (See Figure 1.3.)

TABLE 1.2
Projected population of the United States by race and Hispanic origin, selected years 2000–50
[In thousands except as indicated. As of July 1. Resident population.]
Population or percent and race or Hispanic origin200020102020203020402050
*Includes American Indian and Alaska Native alone, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander alone, and two or more races
Source: "Table 1a. Projected Population of the United States, by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2000 to 2050," in U.S. Interim Projections by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin, U.S. Census Bureau, March 18, 2004, http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/usinterimproj/natprojtab01a.pdf (accessed February 6, 2007)
   Population total282,125308,936335,806363,584391,946419,854
White alone228,548244,995260,629275,731289,690302,626
Black alone35,81840,45445,36550,44255,87661,361
Asian alone*10,68414,24117,98822,58027,99233,430
All other races7,0759,24611,82214,83118,38822,437
Hispanic (of any race)35,62247,75659,75673,05587,585102,560
White alone, not Hispanic195,729201,112205,936209,176210,331210,283
100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
White alone81.079.377.675.873.972.1
Black alone12.713.113.513.914.314.6
Asian alone3.84.65.46.27.18.0
All other races*2.53.03.54.14.75.3
Hispanic (of any race)12.615.517.820.122.324.4
White alone, not Hispanic69.465.161.357.553.750.1

The American family shrank in size during the twentieth century. In 1900 most households consisted of five or more people. By 1950 two-person families became the most common family type and remained so to the end of the century. (See Figure 1.4.) The proportion of one- and two-person households increased from 1970 to 2003, whereas the proportion of households with three or more people steadily decreased. In addition, Jason Fields notes in America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003 (November 2004, http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-553.pdf) that the average household size declined from 3.14 people in 1970 to 2.57 in 2003. This was true partly because the population was getting older, which meant that a smaller proportion of households consisted of parents and their children.

Fewer Traditional Families

One of the more significant social changes to occur in the last decades of the twentieth century was a shift away from the traditional family structure—a married couple with their own child or children living in the home. The Census Bureau divides households into two major categories: family households (defined as groups of two or more people living together related by birth, marriage, or adoption) and nonfamily households (consisting of a person living alone or an individual living with others to whom he or she is not related). As a percentage of all households, family households declined between 1970 and 2003. According to Fields, in 1970 family households accounted for 81% of all households. By 2003 that figure had dropped to 68%. The rise in nonfamily households is the result of many factors, some of the most prominent being:

  • People are postponing marriage until later in life and are thus living alone or with nonrelatives for a longer period.
  • A rising divorce rate translates into more people living alone or with nonrelatives.
  • A rise in the number of people who cohabit before or instead of marriage results in higher numbers of non-family households.
  • The oldest members of our population are living longer and often live in nonfamily households as widows/widowers or in institutional settings.

Although family households were a smaller proportion of all households in 2000 than in 1950, they were still the majority of households. The Census Bureau breaks family households into three categories: married couples with their own children, married couples without children, and other family households. This last category includes single-parent households and households made up of relatives (such as siblings) who live together or grandparents who live with grandchildren without members of the middle generation being present.

Of the three categories, the "other family household" grew the most between 1970 and 2003, growing from 10.6% of all households in 1970 to 16.4% in 2003. (See Figure 1.5.) The traditional family household experienced the greatest decline during this same period. Married couples with their own children made up 40.3% of households in 1970 but only 23.3% in 2003.

One- and Two-Parent Families

Among all families with children, two-parent families accounted for 87.2% of families in 1970 and 67.4% in 2005. (See Table 1.3.) Overall, most households with children are still headed by married couples. However, the decline in the percentage of children being raised in two-parent households has been the subject of much study and attention.

In 2005, 12,835 (or 32.6%) of all families with children were maintained by just one parent, compared with just 3,803 (or 12.8%) in 1970. (See Table 1.3.) In 2005 mothers were single parents 4.2 times as often as fathers. In 1970 that figure was 8.7 times as often; in 1970 there were few single-father families. During that thirty-two-year period, the number of single-father families increased more than fivefold, whereas single-mother households increased threefold.

The proportion of families headed by a single parent increased between 1980 and 2005 in all racial and ethnic groups. African-American children were the least likely of all racial and ethnic groups to live in two-parent households throughout this period (37.6% in 2005). (See Table 1.3.)

The rise in single-parent families is the result of several factors, all pointing to a change in American lifestyles and values. Among these changes are an escalating divorce rate and an increase in the number of children born to unmarried women.

The Census Bureau reports in the 2005 American Community Survey (http://factfinder.census.gov) that 23.3 million individuals in the United States in 2005 were divorced and had not remarried. This was 3.6 times more than the 6.5 million divorced individuals in 1975, according to the bureau's Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces in the UnitedStates: June 1975 (October 1976, http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/marr-div/p20-297/p20-297.pdf).

The rise in the number of single-parent family households can also be attributed to the dramatic increase in the number of births to unmarried women. In 2004, 35.8% of births were to unmarried women. (See Table 1.4.) Nonmarital birthrates differed significantly by race and ethnicity. Hispanic women had the highest birthrate among unmarried mothers in 2004, at 95.7 births per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. The birthrate for unmarried African-American women was 67.2 births per 1,000 women. The rate for unmarried, non-Hispanic white women was 29.4 births per 1,000 women. The rate of births to unmarried women was highest among women in their twenties; the birthrate for unmarried women aged twenty to twenty-four years was 72.5 births per 1,000 women, and the rate for women aged twenty-five to twenty-nine was 68.6 births per 1,000 women.

LIVING ARRANGEMENTS OF CHILDREN

Single-Parent Families

Many children who live in single-parent households face significant challenges that can be exacerbated by racial and ethnic inequalities. In America's Children in Brief (http://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables.asp), the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics indicates that in 2004 the poverty rate was 34% for African-American children and 29% for Hispanic children, but was only 11% for non-Hispanic white children. Children who live in minority families with a single parent are likely to have greatly reduced economic, educational, and social opportunities. Single parents are more likely to have a low income and less education and are more likely to be unemployed and to be renting a home or apartment or living in public housing.

Nontraditional Families

Many single-parent families, however, are not single adult families; some single parents maintain a household with an unmarried partner. In 1990 the Census Bureau sought to reflect changing lifestyles in the United States by asking for the first time whether unmarried couples maintained households together. Although in 2000 a slight majority of U.S. households (52%) were headed by married couples, a significant number of unmarried couples also maintained households together. The Census Bureau notes in the 2005 American Community Survey that in 2005, 5.9 million unmarried couples cohabited in the United States. Most of these couples were opposite-sex couples, but over 776,000 of them were same-sex couples.

A significant portion of all coupled households in 2003 contained children under the age of eighteen. Fields notes that 45% of all married-couple households had children living within them, and almost as many unmarried-partner households, 41%, contained children. However, a sizeable percentage of same-sex partnered households also contained children; Tavia Simmons and Martin O'Connell note in Married-Couple and Unmarried-Partner Households: 2000 (February 2003, http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/censr-5.pdf) that in 2000, the latest year for which data are available, nearly a quarter (22.3%) of households headed by male partners and a third (34.3%) of households headed by female partners had children living with them.

Figure 1.6 shows the dramatic differences in the proportion of children living with single parents and cohabiting single parents by race and ethnic group. Children from all backgrounds were much more likely to be living with a single mother (23%) than a single father (5%). However, 33% of children living with single fathers also lived with cohabiting partners, compared with only 11% of children living with single mothers.

Grandparents

Grandparents sometimes provide housing for, and sometimes reside in, the homes of their children and grandchildren. According to the Child Trends Databank (2005, http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/tables/59_Table_2.htm), in 2005, 5.6% of children under age eighteen (or 4.1 million children) lived in the homes of their grandparents; 2.2% (or 1.6 million children) lived with their grandparents without a parent present. This percentage remained fairly steady from 1970 to 2005, varying from a low of 1.3% in 1992 to a high of 2.2% in 2005. These caretaking grandparents are responsible for most of the basic needs (food, shelter, clothing) of one or more of the grandchildren living with them.

TABLE 1.3
Family households by type, race, and Hispanic origin, selected years 1970–2005
[Numbers in thousands]
YearTotal with own children under 18All family groupsTwo-parent families as percent of total
Two-parentOne parent
TotalMaintained by
MotherFather
aHouseholder whose race was reported as only one race.
bPersons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
Source: Adapted from "FM-2. All Parent/Child Situations, by Type, Race, and Hispanic Origin of Householder or Reference Person: 1970 to Present," in Families and Living Arrangements, U.S. Census Bureau, September 21, 2006, http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/fm2.pdf (accessed February 7, 2007)
All races
200539,31726,48212,83510,3662,46967.4
197029,62625,8233,8033,41039387.2
White
2005a30,96022,3198,6416,7471,89472.1
197026,11523,4772,6382,33030789.9
Black
2005a5,4952,0653,4303,03739337.6
19703,2192,0711,1481,0638564.3
Hispanic originb
20026,7524,3462,4061,96444264.5
19802,1941,6265685264274.1
1970(NA)(NA)(NA)(NA)(NA)(NA)

Living and caretaking arrangements of grandparents and grandchildren varied by race and ethnicity in 2000, the latest year for which detailed data are available. African-American, Native American, and Hispanic grandparents were four times more likely to live with their grandchildren than white grandparents. (See Table 1.5.) However, Hispanic grandparents (34.7%) were less likely than African-American (51.7%) or Native American (56.1%) grandparents to be the primary caregivers for those grandchildren. Asian grandparents (20%) were least likely of all groups to be the primary caretakers for the grandchildren with whom they resided.

The homes maintained by grandparents without parents present were more likely to experience economic hardship than families with a parent present, reflecting the often limited and fixed resources of senior citizens. According to Jason Fields, in Children's Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002 (June 2003, http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20-547.pdf), of all grandchildren, 988,000 (18%) lived below the poverty line in 2002, 1.3 million (23%) were not covered by health insurance, and 506,000 (9%) received public assistance. Among children who lived with their grandparents with their parents absent, the numbers were much higher: 381,000 (30%) were below the poverty line, 457,000 (36%) were not covered by health insurance, and 215,000 (17%) received public assistance. These numbers suggest that children who live with their grandparents without a parent present are at an economic disadvantage; grandchildren's presence in their grandparents' home without an economic contribution from the middle generation appears to severely tax the economic resources of grandparents.

Foster Care and Adoption

There is currently no comprehensive federal registry system for adoptions, which can be arranged by government agencies, private agencies, and through private arrangements between birth mothers and adoptive parents with the assistance of lawyers. The federally funded National Center for Social Statistics collected information on all finalized adoptions from 1957 to 1975, but with the dissolution of the center, limited statistical information is now available. With the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, there was a renewed effort to improve the data available about adoption. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), now tracks adoptions arranged through the foster care system, but this represents only some of the children adopted into American families each year.

According to The AFCARS Report (September 2006, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report10.htm), on September 30, 2003, 520,000 children lived in foster homes with foster parents. Foster parents are trained people supervised by local social service agencies who provide space in their homes and care for children who have been neglected, abused, or abandoned, or whose parents have surrendered them to public agencies because they are unable to care for them. According to the American Public Welfare Association, foster care is the most common type of substitute care, but children needing substitute care might also live in group homes, emergency shelters, child care facilities, hospitals, correctional institutions, or on their own. It is becoming more difficult to place children in foster care. The number of potential foster care families is down, due in part to the fact that women, the primary providers of foster care, are entering the paid labor force in greater numbers.

TABLE 1.4
Number, birth rate, and percentage of births to unmarried women, by age, race, and Hispanic origin of mother, 2004
Measure and age of motherAll racesaWhiteBlackAmerican Indian or Alaska Nativeb, cAsian or Pacific IslanderbHispanicd
TotalbNon-HispanicTotalbNon-Hispanic
—Data not available.
aIncludes races other than white and black and origin not stated.
bRace and Hispanic origin are reported separately on the birth certificate. Race categories are consistent with the 1977 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards. Data for persons of Hispanic origin are included in the data for each race group according to the mother's reported race. Fifteen states reported multiple-race data for 2004. The multiple-race data for these states were bridged to the single-race categories of the 1977 O MB standards for comparability with other states.
cIncludes births to Aleuts and Eskimos.
dIncludes all persons of Hispanic origin of any race.
eBirthrates computed by relating total births to unmarried mothers, regardless of age of mother, to unmarried women aged 15-44 years.
fBirthrates computed by relating births to unmarried mothers aged 40 years and over to unmarried women aged 40-44 years.
Notes: For the 48 states and the District of Columbia, marital status is reported in the birth registration process; for Michigan and New York, mother's marital status is inferred. Rates cannot be computed for unmarried non-Hispanic black women or for American Indian women because the necessary populations are not available.
Source: Joyce A. Martin, et al., "Table 18. Number, Birth Rate, and Percent of Births to Unmarried Women by Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin of Mother: United States, 2004," in "Births: Final Data for 2004," National Vital Statistics Reports, vol. 55, no. 1, September 29, 2006, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr55/nvsr55_01.pdf (accessed February 6, 2007)
Number
All ages1,470,189983,459562,539423,950400,98027,37635,404439,541
Under 15 years6,6033,5731,4252,8112,715136832,254
15-19 years342,188230,758131,62098,82893,9406,8545,748103,258
   15 years17,41610,8034,6566,0125,7333572446,410
   16 years38,31025,05011,72811,72111,14086367613,884
   17 years65,22244,20823,63018,62617,6621,3051,08321,398
   18 years96,93566,07738,79827,34925,9501,9041,60528,398
   19 years124,30584,62052,80835,12033,4552,4252,14033,168
20-24 years566,381379,427231,090164,645156,39410,62711,682155,010
25-29 years307,576203,848109,47189,60184,3595,5068,62198,681
30-34 years155,275103,58653,22243,25940,3722,6855,74552,760
35-39 years72,19448,61427,30319,64718,3671,2352,69822,183
40 years and over19,97213,6538,4085,1594,8333338275,395
Rate per 1,000 unmarried women in specified group
15-44 yearse46.141.629.467.2--23.695.7
15-19 years34.730.121.261.7--13.367.9
   15-17 years20.117.110.737.0--7.743.3
   18-19 years57.750.437.5100.9--21.6110.1
20-24 years72.564.148.0119.8--27.9138.6
25-29 years68.663.943.391.8--33.2143.4
30-34 years47.045.729.652.0--35.4109.6
35-39 years23.522.615.625.8--20.756.8
40-44 yearsf6.05.64.16.8--8.613.8
Percent of births to unmarried women
All ages35.830.524.568.869.362.315.546.4
Under 15 years97.495.996.599.499.597.892.295.7
   15-19 years82.477.778.096.196.689.075.377.6
   15 years95.393.194.999.699.797.092.892.0
   16 years91.588.489.898.999.195.788.587.4
   17 years88.384.786.798.298.593.583.282.8
   18 years82.778.179.696.596.988.475.576.4
   19 years75.870.370.693.494.084.167.370.3
20-24 years54.848.144.782.282.970.238.155.4
25-29 years27.823.117.360.661.151.413.338.8
30-34 years16.113.38.843.743.641.47.229.7
35-39 years15.212.69.039.339.141.27.227.4
40 years and over18.215.612.139.539.344.19.929.9

The AFCARS report estimates that in fiscal year 2003, 296,000 children younger than eighteen years old entered foster care, with an average age of 8.4 years. A disproportionate share of children entering foster care were African-American—27% of children entering foster care were African-American, but according to the Census Bureau's National Population Estimates—Characteristics (May 16, 2006, http://www.census.gov/popest/national/asrh/) only 15.5% of all Americans under age eighteen were African-American in that year. White children were underrepresented among those entering foster care—46% were white, non-Hispanic children, compared with the 59.4% of all white, non-Hispanic children under the age of eighteen. Hispanic and Native American or Alaskan Native children were more proportionally represented—17% entering foster care were Hispanic (compared with 18.7% of children in the general population), and 2% were Native American or Alaskan Native (compared with 0.4% of children in the general population).

A child's stay in foster care can vary from just a few days to many years. Almost one in five children (18%) who left foster care in fiscal year 2003 had been in care less than a month. (See Table 1.6.) Almost a third (32%) had been in care from one to eleven months, another one-fifth (20%) from one to two years, and 30% for more than two years.

More than half (55%) of the children who left foster care in fiscal year 2003 were reunited with their parents. (See Table 1.6.) Some of these children moved to a relative's or guardian's home (15%). Eight percent were emancipated, or "aged out" of the system when they turned eighteen years old. Almost one out of five (18%) of the children who left foster care were adopted.

According to the AFCARS report, adopted children were on average younger (7 years old) than children still in foster care (10.2 years old), reflecting the preference of adoptive parents for younger children. Of those adopted children, 25,118 were male and 24,882 were female. Foster parents adopted 62% of these children, relatives other than parents adopted 23%, and nonrelatives who had not fostered the child previously adopted 15%. Even though traditional families—married couples—made up two-thirds (67%) of those who adopted children from foster care, a significant share were nontraditional families—28% of adopters were single women, 3% were single men, and 2% were unmarried couples.

In 1996 the federal government began to provide incentives to potential adoptive parents to move children into adoptive homes more quickly. The government provided a $5,000 tax credit for adoptive parents to cover adoption expenses; the credit was $6,000 if the adopted child had special needs. Children with special needs were defined as those with physical, mental, or emotional problems; children needing to be adopted with siblings; or children who were difficult to place because of age, race, or ethnicity. In 2002 the tax credit was increased to $10,000 to cover adoption expenses for children without special needs; adoptive parents of special-needs children, including many children from foster care, received the full amount of the tax credit regardless of incurred expenses. That tax credit increased in subsequent years and was $10,960 in 2006.

TABLE 1.5
Grandparents living with grandchildren, responsible for coresident grandchildren, and duration of responsibility, by race and Hispanic origin, 2000
CharacteristicRaceHispanic origin
TotalWhite aloneBlack or African American aloneAmerican Indian and Alaska Native aloneAsian aloneNative Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander aloneSome other race aloneTwo or more racesHispanic or Latino (of any race)Not Hispanic or Latino
TotalWhite alone, not Hispanic or Latino
*Percent duration based on grandparents responsible for grandchildren. Percent distribution may not sum to 100 percent because of rounding.
Source: Tavia Simmons and Jane Lawler Dye, "Table 1. Grandparents Living with Grandchildren, Responsible for Coresident Grandchildren, and Duration of Responsibility by Race and Hispanic Origin: 2000," in Grandparents Living with Grandchildren: 2000, U.S. Census Bureau, October 2003, http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-31.pdf (accessed February 7, 2007)
Population 30 years old and over158,881,037126,715,47216,484,6441,127,4555,631,301169,3315,890,7482,862,08614,618,891144,262,146119,063,492
Grandparents living with grandchildren5,771,6713,219,4091,358,69990,524359,70917,014567,486158,8301,221,6614,550,0102,654,788
   Percent of population 30 and over3.62.58.28.06.410.09.65.58.43.22.2
Responsible for grandchildren2,426,7301,340,809702,59550,76571,7916,587191,10763,076424,3042,002,4261,142,006
   Percent of coresident grandparents42.041.651.756.120.038.733.739.734.744.043.0
By duration of care (percent)*
   Total100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0100.0
Less than 6 months12.112.69.813.013.612.715.613.514.611.512.4
6 to 11 months10.811.69.310.511.08.411.411.211.210.711.6
1 to 2 years23.223.821.222.525.223.826.123.425.122.823.6
3 to 4 years15.415.814.613.917.611.715.716.015.815.315.7
5 years to more38.536.345.240.032.743.331.135.933.339.636.6

In addition, Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act in 1997, providing fiscal incentives to states to move children from foster care into adoptive families more quickly. States that increased the number of adoptions of foster children (in a given year over a base year) received a standard payment of $4,000 per adopted child and an additional $2,000 for the adoption of each special-needs child and an additional $4,000 for the adoption of each child aged nine or older.

Despite these incentives, many children who enter foster care will never have a permanent family but instead will age out of the system. On September 30, 2003, there were 120,000 foster children whose parents' rights had been terminated. (See Table 1.7.) These "waiting children" were disproportionately African-American. Even though in 2003, 15.5% of all children under age eighteen were African-American and 27% of children entering foster care were African-American, 40% of waiting children were African-American. Fifty-five percent of waiting children lived in foster homes with nonrelatives while waiting to be adopted.

Living Arrangements of Young Adults

A young person's transition into adult independence does not necessarily occur at age eighteen. The marriage age has risen since the 1950s, and, because obtaining a college education has become the norm, young people have delayed finding employment that allows them to support themselves independently of their parents. A growing number of young adults older than eighteen continue to live in, or return to, their parents' home. Some young people live with their parents until their mid-twenties, and others are likely to return home at some point after moving out, especially after college or service in the military. Many young adults also share households with other people.

Socioeconomic experts attribute this phenomenon to the rising cost of living in the United States. Wages have not increased at the same rate as the cost of living; therefore, the same amount of money buys less than it did in previous years. Real estate prices, particularly in the most populous states (New York, California, Florida, and Texas), have skyrocketed. This is good news for homeowners but bad news for renters and first-time homebuyers, a large percentage of whom are young adults.

TABLE 1.6
Children who exited foster care, fiscal year 2003
[Data from both the regular and revised submissions received by June 2006 are included in the information below. Missing data are not used in the calculation of percentages.]
HOW MANY CHILDREN EXITED FOSTER CARE DURING FISCAL YEAR 2003? 282,000
WHAT WERE THE AGES OF THE CHILDREN WHO EXITED CARE DURING FISCAL YEAR 2003?
Mean years10.0
Median years10.0
Less than 1 year   4%12,660
 1 year   6%17,269
 2 years   6%17,761
 3 years   6%16,339
 4 years   5%15,002
 5 years   5%13,682
 6 years   4%12,668
 7 years   4%12,038
 8 years   4%11,905
 9 years   4%11,781
10 years   4%11,417
11 years   4%11,540
12 years   4%11,838
13 years   4%12,560
14 years   5%14,458
15 years   6%16,713
16 years   6%17,675
17 years   8%23,530
18 years   5%14,919
19 years   1%3,512
20 years   1%2,732
WHAT WERE THE OUTCOMES FOR THE CHILDREN EXITING FOSTER CARE DURING FISCAL YEAR 2003?
Reunification with parent(s) or primary caretaker(s)  55%155,499
Living with other relative(s)  11%31,572
Adoption  18%50,355
Emancipation   8%22,432
Guardianship   4%10,959
Transfer to another agency   2%6,439
Runaway   1%4,158
Death of a child*   0%586
*Deaths are attributed to a variety of causes including medical conditions, accidents, and homicide.
WHAT WERE THE LENGTHS OF STAY OF THE CHILDREN WHO EXITED FOSTER CARE DURING FISCAL YEAR 2003?
Mean months21.7
Median months11.9
Less than 1 month  18%51,619
1 to 5 months  16%45,811
6 to 11 months  16%45,371
12 to 17 months  12%33,985
18 to 23 months  8%23,440
24 to 29 months  6%16,872
30 to 35 months   5%12,719
3 to 4 years  10%27,973
5 years or more   9%24,209

In 2003, 13.8 million young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four lived in their parents' home. (See Table 1.8.) This figure includes those who were living in college dormitories who were still counted as residing at their parents' residence. Males in this age group were more likely (54.8%) than females (45.7%) to live with their parents. This was primarily because men tend to marry at a later age than women do. Almost all men and women in this age group who lived with their parents had never been married. Table 1.9 shows that the percentage of both men and women aged twenty to twenty-four and twenty-five to twenty-nine that had never married rose dramatically between 1970 and 2003, but the percentage of men who had never married was consistently higher.

TABLE 1.6
Children who exited foster care, fiscal year 2003 [continued]
[Data from both the regular and revised submissions received by June 2006 are included in the information below. Missing data are not used in the calculation of percentages.]
Source: Adapted from "How Many Children Exited Foster Care during FY 2003?" in The AFCARS Report, no. 10, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, September 2006, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report10.htm (accessed February 6, 2007)
HOW MANY CHILDREN EXITED FOSTER CARE DURING FISCAL YEAR 2003? 282,000
WHAT WAS THE RACE/ETHNICITY OF THE CHILDREN WHO EXITED CARE DURING FISCAL YEAR 2003?
American Indian/Alaska Native-non Hispanic2%5,733
Asian-non Hispanic1%2,633
Black-non Hispanic29%82,839
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander-non Hispanic0%972
Hispanic16%46,123
White-non Hispanic45%128,256
Unknown/unable to determine3%7,348
Two or more-non Hispanic3%8,097

Young adults who live by themselves for any length of time are unlikely to return home after experiencing independence. By contrast, those who move in with roommates or who cohabit without marrying are more likely to return to the parental home if the living situation does not work out or the relationship fails. Some young people struggle on their own only to return home for respite from financial pressures, loneliness, or because they need emotional support or security.

Even if they do not settle into careers immediately, most young adults living at home work for wages. Those young people who lived away from home and then moved back were more likely to pay rent or make some financial contribution to the household than those who never lived on their own, even if they were employed.

HOW LONG DO THEY STAY?

Young men are more likely than young women to stay with their parents indefinitely. This may be because young men typically lose less of their autonomy when they return home than young women do. Young women report that they have more responsibility to help around the house and more rules to obey than do their young male counterparts.

TABLE 1.7
Children waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2003
HOW MANY CHILDREN WERE WAITING TO BE ADOPTED ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2003? 120,000
WHAT IS THE GENDER DISTRIBUTION OF THE WAITING CHILDREN?
Male  53%63,811
Female  47%56,189
HOW MANY MONTHS HAVE THE WAITING CHILDREN BEEN IN CONTINUOUS FOSTER CARE?
Mean months44.5
Median months34.0
Less than 1 month   0%446
1 through 5 months   3%4,016
6 through 11 months   7%8,349
12 through 17 months  11%13,065
18 through 23 months  11%13,623
24 through 29 months  11%13,029
30 through 35 months   9%10,587
36 through 59 months  23%27,125
60 or more months  25%29,760
WHAT IS THE RACIAL/ETHNIC DISTRIBUTION OF THE WAITING CHILDREN?
American Indian/Alaska Native-non Hispanic   2%2,204
Asian-non Hispanic   0%501
Black-non Hispanic  40%48,305
Hawaiian/Pacific Islander-non Hispanic   0%346
Hispanic  14%16,307
White-non Hispanic  37%44,346
Unknown/unable to determine   4%4,218
Two or more-non Hispanic   3%3,773
HOW OLD WERE THE WAITING CHILDREN WHEN THEY WERE REMOVED FROM THEIR PARENTS OR CARETAKERS?
Mean years 5.0
Median years 4.4
Less than 1 year  24%28,568
 1 year   8%10,018
 2 years   8%9,113
 3 years   7%8,523
 4 years   7%8,146
 5 years   7%8,132
 6 years   7%8,067
 7 years   6%7,672
 8 years   6%6,982
 9 years   5%6,375
10 years   5%5,497
11 years   4%4,349
12 years   3%3,336
13 years   2%2,418
14 years   1%1,530
15 years   1%797
16 years   0%362
17 years   0%101
18 years   0%10
19 years   0%3
20 years   0%0
WHERE WERE THE WAITING CHILDREN LIVING ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2003?
Pre-adoptive home 17%19,938
Foster family home (relative) 16%19,541
Foster family home (non-relative) 55%65,629
Group home   4%5,194
Institution   7%8,376
Supervised independent living   0%186
Runaway   1%693
Trial home visit   0%444
TABLE 1.7
Children waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2003 [continued]
HOW OLD WERE THE CHILDREN ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2003?
Source: Adapted from "How Many Children Were Waiting to be Adopted on September 30, 2003?" in The AFCARS Report, no. 10, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, September 2006, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/tar/report10.htm (accessed February 6, 2007)
Mean years8.7
Median years8.8
Less than 1 year  3%3,826
 1 year  6%7,731
 2 years  7%8,405
 3 years  6%7,767
 4 years  6%7,320
 5 years  6%6,990
 6 years  5%6,582
 7 years  5%6,382
 8 years  5%6,418
 9 years  6%6,860
10 years  6%7,172
11 years  6%7,512
12 years  6%7,549
13 years  6%7,317
14 years  6%6,981
15 years  5%6,456
16 years  4%4,534
17 years  3%3,031
18 years  1%856
19 years  0%220
20 years 06%93
TABLE 1.8
Young adults living at home, selected years 1960–2003
[Numbers in thousands. Data based on Current Population Survey (CPS) unless otherwise specified.]
AgeMaleFemale
TotalChild of householderPercentTotalChild of householderPercent
Note: Unmarried college students living in dormitories are counted as living in their parent(s) home.
NA Not available.
Source: "Table AD-1. Young Adults Living at Home: 1960 to Present," U.S. Census Bureau, September 15, 2004, http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/tabAD-1.pdf (accessed February 7, 2007)
18 to 24 years
200313,8117,56954.813,5926,21545.7
200213,6967,57555.313,6026,25246.0
200113,4127,38555.113,3616,06845.4
200013,2917,59357.113,2426,23247.1
199912,9367,44057.513,0316,38949.0
199812,6337,39958.612,5685,97447.5
199712,5347,50159.812,4526,00648.2
199612,4027,32759.012,4415,95548.0
199512,5457,32858.412,6135,89646.7
199412,6837,54759.512,7925,92446.3
199312,0497,14559.312,2605,74646.9
199212,0837,29660.412,3515,92948.0
199112,2757,38560.212,6276,16348.8
199012,4507,23258.112,8606,13547.7
198912,5747,30858.113,0556,14147.0
198812,8357,79260.713,2266,39848.4
198713,0297,98161.313,4336,37547.5
198613,3247,83158.813,7876,43346.7
198513,6958,17259.714,1496,75847.8
198414,1968,76461.714,4826,77946.8
198314,3448,80361.414,7027,00147.6
198214,368  (NA) (NA)14,815  (NA) (NA)
198114,367  (NA) (NA)14,848  (NA) (NA)
1980 census14,2787,75554.314,8446,33642.7
1970 census10,3985,64154.311,9594,94141.3
1960 census6,8423,58352.47,8762,75034.9
25 to 34 years
200319,5432,63113.519,6591,375 7.0
200219,2202,61013.619,4281,618 8.3
200119,3082,52013.119,5271,583 8.1
200018,5632,38712.919,2221,602 8.3
199918,9242,63613.919,5511,690 8.6
199819,5262,84514.619,8281,680 8.5
199720,0392,90914.520,2171,745 8.6
199620,3903,21316.020,5281,810 9.0
199520,5893,16615.420,8001,759 8.5
199420,8733,26115.621,0731,859 8.8
199320,8563,30015.821,0071,844 8.8
199221,1253,22515.321,3681,874 8.8
199121,3193,17214.921,5861,887 8.7
199021,4623,21315.021,7791,774 8.1
198921,4613,13014.621,7771,728 7.9
198821,3203,20715.021,6491,791 8.3
198721,1423,07114.521,4941,655 7.7
198620,9562,98114.221,0971,686 8.0
198520,1842,68513.320,6731,661 8.0
198419,8762,62613.220,2971,548 7.6
198319,4382,66413.719,9031,520 7.6
198219,090  (NA) (NA)19,614  (NA) (NA)
198118,625  (NA) (NA)19,203  (NA) (NA)
1980 census18,1071,89410.518,6891,300 7.0
1970 census11,9291,129 9.512,637  829 6.6
1960 census10,8961,18510.911,587  853 7.4
TABLE 1.9
Marital status of the population 15 years and over by sex and age, 1970 and 2003
[In thousands]
Sex and age2003March 1970 percent never married*
NumberPercent never married
TotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentSeparatedDivorcedWidowedNever married
—Represents zero or rounds to zero.
*The 1970 percentages include 14-year-olds, and thus are for 14+ and 14−19.
Source: Jason Fields, "Table 6. Marital Status of the Population 15 Years and Over by Sex and Age: March 1970 and 2003," in America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2003, U.S. Census Bureau, November 2004, http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-553.pdf (accessed February 7, 2007)
Both sexes
Total 15 years and over225,057117,1723,1394,72321,64913,99564,38028.624.9
15 to 19 years20,1762574370391619,75197.993.9
20 to 24 years19,8563,1811772132431616,02680.744.5
25 to 29 years18,6968,158308476832508,87247.514.7
30 to 34 years20,50512,2683175151,606805,72027.97.8
35 to 44 years44,02528,6337591,4615,5674077,19716.35.9
45 to 54 years40,19627,2996061,0566,4788423,9149.76.1
55 to 64 years27,38718,9493935504,1571,7791,5585.77.2
65 years and over34,21718,4275353822,72510,8061,3413.97.6
Males
Total 15 years and over108,69658,5861,6511,9058,9762,69734,88132.128.1
15 to 19 years10,24166133721710,09898.697.4
20 to 24 years9,9531,156786393-8,56386.054.7
25 to 29 years9,3663,573170171327145,11254.619.1
30 to 34 years10,1775,733187185678213,37133.19.4
35 to 44 years21,70214,0454065872,335884,24219.56.7
45 to 54 years19,57813,7043224132,8212022,11710.87.5
55 to 64 years13,1589,9702002601,6792927575.87.8
65 years and over14,52110,3412741901,0222,0746214.37.5
Females
Total 15 years and over116,36158,5861,4882,81712,67311,29729,49925.422.1
15 to 19 years9,93519330321899,65297.290.3
20 to 24 years9,9032,02599150150167,46375.435.8
25 to 29 years9,3304,585138305505363,76040.310.5
30 to 34 years10,3296,535130330928582,34922.76.2
35 to 44 years22,32214,5883538753,2333192,95513.25.2
45 to 54 years20,61713,5952836433,6586401,7978.74.9
55 to 64 years14,2298,9801932902,4781,4878015.66.8
65 years and over19,6968,0862611921,7048,7327203.77.7

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