WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Less than half of U.S. children under the age of eighteen live in “traditional” family households consisting of two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage.

A new Pew Research Center analysis shows a drastic shift in the composition of U.S. households in recent decades. In 1960, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of children lived in “traditional” households, while only 46 percent do today. The Pew data shows that the American family structure has become more complicated, with more than one-third (34 percent) of U.S. children being raised by a single parent.

Americans are pushing back old “ideals” of family structure by delaying or rebuking marriage from a young age and 41 percent of children are now being born outside of marriage altogether – up from just 5 percent in 1960.

The number of children born into the “traditional” family household of two heterosexual parents in their first marriage fell 15 percent (61 percent to 46 percent) between 1980 and 2013.

Fifteen percent of children today live with two parents who have been remarried, while 34 percent of children today are living with an unmarried parent. In 1960, less than 1-in-10 (9 percent) of children lived with an unmarried parent and only 19 percent in 1980.

A small percentage of children (4 percent) are living with two cohabiting parents, according to CPS data, but the quality of 2013 ACS data on same-sex marriage has not been finalized.

The recent economic recession has also boosted the number of children who are not living with either of their parents, and in most cases are living with a grandparent.


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