Married with Kids? Traditional Family More of a Rarity

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - A new survey suggests that more than half of the nation's children may not be living with both parents after the turn of the century, as the number of married couples with children dwindles.

The General Social Survey, conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, found that only 26 percent of all households contained married couples with children in 1998 - compared with 45 percent in 1972, when the first such survey was done.

The survey also found that 56 percent of adults are married, compared with nearly 75 percent in 1972; 51 percent of children lived in a household with their two original parents, compared with 73 percent in 1972; 18.2 percent of children lived with a single parent, up from 4.7 percent; and 32 percent of households were made up of unmarried people with no children, more than double the number recorded in the early 1970's.

The idea of a couple staying together for the sake of the kids is also losing support. The survey found that 67 percent of the Americans surveyed last year disagreed with that notion.

One researcher said what's missing are the tools and role models young people need to teach them how marriage works. Another researcher said Americans are becoming more accepting of divorce, since many of them are children of divorce.

The survey is based on interviews with 2,832 Americans over the age of 18, and it was conducted between February and May of last year.