Living Arrangements of Children: Fall 2001

July 2005
Report Number: P70-104
Rose M. Kreider and Jason Fields


Children live in a variety of family arrangements that usually reflect the marriage, divorce, and remarriage patterns of their parents. In addition, one third of children today are born out-of wedlock and may grow up in single parent families or spend significant portions of their lives with other relatives or stepparents. This report examines the diversity of children’s living arrangements in American households. The data are from the household relationship module of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) collected in 2001 and update an earlier study from the 1996 SIPP panel of children growing up in various family situations. 

Detailed information was obtained on each person’s relationship to every other person in the household, permitting the identification of various types of relatives and of parent-child and sibling relationships. This report describes extended family households with relatives and nonrelatives (whose presence may affect a child’s development and contribute to the household’s economic well-being). It also examines the degree to which children are living in single-parent families or with stepparents, adoptive parents, or no parents while in the care of another relative or guardian. 

The statistics in this report are based on national-level estimates of children and their living situations from June through September 2001. The findings pertain to all individuals under age 18, regardless of their marital or parental status. The estimates represent data on the living arrangements for children averaged over this 4-month period.

Related Information

October 2005
January 2007