Recent years have seen a rapidly escalating erosion in family life in North America. Professor Lee Salk of Cornell University Medical College and President of the American Psychological Association’s division of child and youth services has stated: “Society is finding more and more ways of separating children from their families…We are expending more and more money outside the home on child care instead of providing funds to help families function as a social unit.” The result is the decline of the family.
A revised second edition of What’s Happening to the American Family? Tensions, Hopes and Realities (John Hopkins University Press) cites the latest available statistics for the United States. In a comparison between 1980 and 1987 it is found that the percentage of:
– children living with a single parent rose from 20 per cent to 24 per cent.
– married mothers in the work force rose fro 54 per cent to 64 per cent.
– Working mothers with children under three years rose from 41 per cent to 54 per cent.
Interestingly enough, despite (or because of) the vaunted sex-education programmes in school, the percentage of illegitimate births has increased from five per cent in 1960 to 23 per cent in 1986.
One of the most striking statistics shows that today only ten per cent of all American households are made up of a traditional bread-earner husband, home-maker wife, and children.
Commenting on these statistics one American writer, Allan Brownfeld, said; “There was a time, before drugs and juvenile delinquency threatened our society, that family life and the rearing of children was a priority worthy of sacrifice. Today, it’s a priority worthy of rediscovery.