Entries in Family Life (3)


Census: Husband-Wife Households at Record Lows

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The proportion of homes in America with husband-wife couples has now fallen below 50 percent, the lowest since the Census Bureau began tabulating such family data in 1940.

New Census 2010 figures, released Wednesday, reveal that 48 percent of all households include a married husband and wife, compared with 52 percent in 2000. That’s down dramatically from the peak.  In the 1950 Census, 78 percent of all households in America mirrored the Ozzie and Harriet mold, with a husband and wife in the home.

There is wide variation from state to state. Utah has the highest proportion of husband-wife households, at 61 percent. The lowest numbers are in New York and Louisiana, with 44 percent each.

There are more interracial married couples than a decade ago. Their numbers jumped 28 percent since 2000.

With the overall percentage of married couples declining, the percentage of unmarried couples living together is increasing.

It is possible that this also reflects an increase in the average age at which couples first marry. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, the average age for men is 28.7 years, and for women, it’s 26.5. Compare that to 1960, when that age for both men and women was early 20s.  

Unmarried couples make up less than 7 percent of all households, but their numbers still jumped 40 percent from 2000. The largest increase in that group was same-sex partner homes, which skyrocketed 80 percent in the past decade.  They make up less than one percent of all households, but in 2010, nearly 650,000 households identified themselves as same-sex partner homes.

Other types of living arrangements are also on the upswing.  There are more people living alone. Homes with just one person made up nearly 27 percent of households in 2010.  Atlanta and Washington, D.C., are the two cities with most residents living by themselves – about 44 percent in each.  The Census Bureau says that probably reflects young single people looking for job opportunities.

Another growing phenomenon is the number of male homeowners living without a spouse, but with other family members. Half of these are dads with their own children. The others might include an adult son whose parent moves in, or a brother housing another brother. This category of home increased by 19.05 percent, from 4.2 percent of households in 2000 to 5 percent in 2010.

It’s also more common to find multiple generations living together.  In 2010, there were 5 million families where three or more generations lived under the same roof, about a million more than a decade before.

The new Census numbers also reflects the graying of America.  In 2010, a quarter of all households included someone over age 65.  The two states with the highest percentage of elderly households were Florida and Hawaii.  Both, of course, offer nice warm weather for retirees.  In Alaska, on the other hand, only 16 percent of households included someone over age 65 -- the lowest percentage of any state.

The 2010 Census is “continuing trends we’ve seen for quite a while,” according to Rose Kreider, chief of the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kids Sue Mom for Being Bad Parent and Lose

File photo. (Comstock/Thinkstock)(COOK COUNTY, Ill.) -- Illinois mom Kimberly Garrity applauded a court ruling Monday that threw out a lawsuit by her two children who had sued her for allegedly being a bad mom.

"We are very pleased with the court's decision," said Shelley Smith, Garrity's attorney.

In court papers, Smith called the complaint a "litany of childish complaints and ingratitude."

Garrity, 55, battled her kids Steven Miner, 23, and Kathryn Miner, 20, for two years. The children sought $50,000 for emotional distress stemming from the damage of her supposed bad mothering.

The case was originally tossed by a Cook County circuit court, but the kids appealed. Last week, an Illinois appellate court also dismissed it.

Raised in a $1.5 million home by their father, the children alleged the Garrity was a lousy mom because she failed to send money for birthdays, called her daughter home early from homecoming, and threatened to call the police on her son, then 7, if he didn't buckle up in the car.

Steven also accused his mother of once smacking him on the head, saying that he still suffers from headaches. One of the exhibits in the case included a birthday card that Steven called "inappropriate" because it failed to include cash or a check.

When contacted by ABC News, Kathryn Miner said, "I have no comment."

In its ruling, the appellate court said that it found that none of Garrity's behavior could be ruled "extreme or outrageous."

"Such alleged actions are unpleasant and perhaps insensitive, and some would arguably fall outside the realm of 'good mothering,' but they are not so shocking as to form a basis for a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress," the court ruled.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Sister Wives' Family Plans to Challenge Polygamy Law

PRNewsFoto/TLC(SALT LAKE CITY) -- The polygamist family portrayed on the TLC reality show Sister Wives said all along its main goal in going on national television was to gain public acceptance of its lifestyle. Now family patriarch Kody Brown, his four wives and 16 children and stepchildren are moving from the court of public opinion to the court of law, arguing that criminalizing their lifestyle is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the Browns are expected to file a federal lawsuit to challenge the polygamy law in their home state of Utah, where they came under investigation for violating the state law that prohibits polygamy.

Brown and his four wives -- Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn -- moved their family to Las Vegas earlier this year, in part, they told ABC News, to escape the criminal investigation.

"We didn't want this thing hanging over us," Brown, a salesman, told ABC News last March. "We went to Vegas with hopes of having a good life, preserving the family...We never did anything here at all to be rebellious, to challenge the statutes of the law or anything like that."

"We still have our family," Robyn, Brown's fourth wife, said. "That's all it boils down to."

Police in Lehi, Utah, launched an investigation into the Brown family's lifestyle last September for a possible charge of bigamy after TLC initially announced the show Sister Wives. Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah and punishable by up to five years in prison.

As reported by The New York Times, the Browns' purported lawsuit does not demand that states recognize polygamous marriage but asks that federal courts tell states they cannot punish polygamists for their "intimate behavior" so long as they are not breaking other laws, such as child abuse or incest.

The Browns are members of the Apostolic United Brethren Church, a fundamentalist break from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- the Mormon Church -- which officially banned polygamy more than 100 years ago as Utah sought statehood.

In making their case, the Browns argue that making polygamous unions illegal violates the free exercise, establishment, free speech and freedom of association clauses of the First Amendment, and the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

The Browns have faced no allegations of incest, child abuse or child brides, despite the inquiries into their lifestyle, something that could help their case in court.

A ruling in the Brown's favor would affect tens of thousands of people in polygamous families in the United States.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio