The Social Effects of Contrasting BehaviorUnderstanding traditional family values, it is interesting that these two particular instances should co-exist simultaneously. With the US population set to reach 311 million by the close of 2011, it would be reasonable to presume that this was a consequence of prosperous marriages and an increased rate of romantic union. Considered as part of a larger trend, this projected increase in population would be in line with the average annual increase of between 250,000 and 300,000, and suggest that there is a steadily growing number of couples and family units within the us.
By evaluating the current divorce rates and living arrangements in the US however, it can be seen that the results do not correlate as expected. By the end of 2008, 23 percent of the US population were categorized as divorced, while a further 25 percent had never been married at all. This, alongside the estimation that between 40 and 50 percent of all recent marriages have ended in divorce, there is actually an increasing number of US citizens and adults who live alone or with a casual or unmarried partner.
Two conclusions can be drawn from this information. Firstly, there is a large increase in the number of citizens who live by themselves, who are perhaps influenced either by a previous martial experience and the portrayal of marriage in contemporary media reporting. Secondly, individuals that are in relationship are choosing to shun marriage and even cohabiting in certain instances, meaning that the modern face of relationships and the subsequent raising of children is changing beyond all recognition.
More Children Born Outside of Typical Relationships
If we accept the fact that the population is continuing to experience growth despite a decrease in the number of individuals married and in relationships, then we must also accept that the typical family unit may soon be a thing of the past. This can be seen through the steady and continual rise of births to unmarried mothers (especially aged between 20 and 29), which is indicative of the changing definition of family, with couples either refusing to marry or single parents choosing to raise their child after a relationship background.
There are several social factors which influence these trends. It is a financial fact that an average US wedding costs approximately $20,000, which is a considerable sum given the recent spell of economic and financial hardship. This, coupled with the way in which family and religious values are increasingly irrelevant in a technological and multicultural world,make a traditional wedding subsist more as an unnecessary luxury than a significant statement of the love prevalent within a relationship.
The more liberal ethos of modern society has also encouraged equality and independent living, allowing a single parent to raise their child in comfort and without ill considered judgement from others. Modern welfare structure encourages able bodied single parents to work at least part time hours, empowering them and allowing them to set an admirable example to their children. These improvements are the result of governments adapting to cultural trends, and allow a single parent to raise a child outside of a typical family unit and support network.