Family Changes

In the last 5 decades

(Household) Family Size

Family size has been declining ever since the Industrial Revolution. In 1950, the family size was very close to 3 on average. This number went up, however, due to the Baby Boom and family size increased to almost 4. Since then, the size has been declining and was 2.59 according to the 2010 Census. USAToday states, however, that the recession that started in 2008 may be causing the family size to go up again.

Causes for Decline in Family Size

The decline in family size is due mainly to a decrease in fertility and the fact that child mortality is lower now. Fertility has gone down (in almost every developed nation) because of education, contraceptives, a lower need for children to work (usually on farms), and a large increase in cost. Also, because child mortality is lower, parents don't need, as terrible as it may sound, replacement children. Ever since 1972 the birthrate has been below "replacement level," resulting in a net decline in population. One final reason for a smaller household is that many adults wait to get married and have children. They often live on their own for a long time (or couples are childless) so they can advance in their careers.
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