Race and multigenerational family structure, 1900-1980

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the late nineteenth century, family and household composition in the United States was more complex than ever before or since. The 1980s represent the opposite extreme: Households are simpler than they have ever been. Only 6 percent of households include extended kin, and the proportion of families with unrelated individuals is even lower. This chapter presents the preliminary stage of a larger project concerning one facet of the simplification of household structure: the decline of multigenerational living arrangements, with a special focus on differentials between blacks and whites. Social scientists frequently view household structure as a strategic and rational response to prevailing demographic or economic conditions. This functional approach is partly a consequence of static analysis. The dramatic changes in population composition during the course of the twentieth century complicate the study of changing family structure. The treatment of family structure as a simple dichotomy masks some key differences between blacks and whites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Changing American Family
Subtitle of host publicationSociological and Demographic Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781000243390
ISBN (Print)9780367290696
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1992 Taylor & Francis.


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