It wasn’t that long ago…

..when the typical American family was a husband, wife, two kids, a dog, and a mini-van. Some might remember how the nuclear family was depicted in the TV show “Leave it to Beaver” in the late ‘50s to early ‘60s.

A half-century ago, the average age for a woman to marry was 20, and for a man it was 23. The thought was, you had to be married to have an “acceptable” life. The modern American family, however, has never been more diverse or more surprising. Today’s youth are putting off tying the knot in favor of cohabitation, postponing marriage into their late 20’s and beyond. By the end of their 20’s they hope to have established careers, live together for several years, then get married. There may be something to this. Recent worldwide data shows that the later you marry, the more likely you are to remain married.

Another change in the family dynamic…

…is the rise of same sex marriage, four years after the Supreme Court ruling on this. More than one million same sex couples are living together. Views on interracial couples have also evolved. To reflect this reality, many companies are showing bi-racial couples in their advertisements.

When it comes to having kids, we are downsizing.

In the ‘50s, the baby boom years, the average American family had almost four children. Now the average is 1.7 children per family, the lowest ever!

Financial dynamics have shifted as well.

More women are now the primary breadwinners. In 40% of families with children under the age of 18, mothers earn the majority of the family income. Many more women are professionals than ever before with more power and authority in the family. In return, husbands are spending more time with the children.

Regardless of your age, income, sexuality, or ethnicity, there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the American family.