If you take a look at the changes in family living arrangements since the 1970s, a few things seem to jump off the graph. First, you can’t help but miss the drop in the proportion of married couples with children households (a percentage almost halved in just under 40 years). What’s more interesting, however, are the family forms (defined by the Census as “nonfamily households” – which has the feel of a pointed term) that have picked up those stray percentage points.
Living arrangements that fall into the categories that the Census designates as “family households” really don’t show enormous change aside from the huge decline in married couples with children. A great deal of attention has been paid to the “other nonfamily households” as interest in cohabitation and it’s alleged effects are heavily scrutinized. The other categories (women living alone and men living alone) receive a bit less attention, but together, all three categories account for a great deal of the decline in married couple with children households.