The Institute for Family Studies (IFS) found a surprising outcome when it tabulated the latest U.S. Census Bureau data: the percentage of children who live in two-parent households has risen to a thirty-year high of 70.4%.
The finding was satisfying, yet surprising because for more than half a century all the “experts” on the Left have agreed that the nuclear family was antiquated and not beneficial to society:
The two-parent family of married mother and father bringing up their own biological children would soon be replaced by a menagerie of alternate family forms: cohabiting couples with children; single-parent families; blended families; same-sex couples raising children conceived and born in a variety of unconventional ways; and so on.
In other words, the Left’s so-called experts thought they had won the cultural war for the family by doing everything in their power to destroy the traditional family values of the two-parent household.
Thankfully, it appears they were wrong. Clearly, the nuclear family is alive and thriving even in the midst of a pandemic — though not at levels it once was.
The proportion of children living with two parents has gradually recovered, reaching 70% in 2020. And the fraction living in one-parent families has slipped from 28% to 25%, while the number living with neither parent has leveled off between 4 and 5 percent.
As Figure 1 above shows, the upward trend for two-parent households began in the mid-1990s and took off in earnest around 2008 where it steadily climbed to 2020’s numbers. While this is compelling for sure, the Census Bureau does include some flaws in its data by combining data from family subsets like “stepparent and adoptive families with both birth-parent families, making their two-parent category more inclusive than commonly understood.”
With those flaws in mind, Nicholas Zill from IFS crunched the 2020 Census Bureau numbers further to show a more detailed picture of family living arrangements:
In Figure 2, it’s plain to see that kids living with both parents are still within the dominant living arrangement. Zill found that even though 63.1% represents a smaller percentage than 70.4%, it “actually represents a small increase from what the proportion of children living with both birth parents was in 2012,” which was 61%.
Although the Census Bureau’s data is encouraging and we can continue to hope the trend grows, we have to wait for more survey data in the years to come to know for certain. Until then, the Right must do everything it can to support and encourage the parents, kids, and families in our communities.