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Report Number WE-10
Component ID: #ti1354994862

Introduction

We, the American children, numbered 63.6 million in 1990. This report focuses on our family living arrangements and our economic circumstances. Special attention is devoted to similarities and differences between non-Hispanic White children and non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic origin children.

Throughout the past 50 years, fewer than one-half of us have lived in “traditional” families where the father was a full-time worker and the mother a full-time homemaker. A majority of us live with two parents, but an increasing proportion have only one parent in the home. Few of us have grandparents in the home, and most of us live in families with only one, two, or three children.

Nearly all of us who live with a father have a father who is employed, but many of us have fathers who work part-time. Most of us who live with a mother only, have a mother who works for pay. For every child who lives in a “traditional” family where the father is a full-time worker and the mother a full-time homemaker, four children live in “nontraditional” two-parent families. Even at age 1, only one-sixth of us live in “traditional” two-parent families.

The proportion of us living in families with high incomes increased during the 1980’s, and the proportion with low and poverty level incomes also increased during the 1980’s. Children living with two parents have high family incomes compared with children living with one parent.

Whether we have high or low family incomes also depends on the amount of time our parents work. Children in “traditional” two-parent families and children living in mother-only families where the mother works full time are similar in their chances of having a low family income and living in poverty. Whether we live with two parents or only our mother, Black and Hispanic children experience much higher poverty rates than White children.

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