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Today's typical U.S. family looks very different from that of 50 years ago

Today, it's hard to define a typical all-American family. In previous decades, the word family often brought to mind an image of a happily married heterosexual couple with two or more children. Today, however, this image seems outdated and increasingly isn't one with which many younger people in the U.S. can identify.

Recent data compiled by the Pew Research Center proves that the average family of 50 years ago is no longer the American norm. While in 1960 an estimated 73 percent of U.S. children under the age of 17 lived under the same roof with their married heterosexual parents, today only 46 percent of U.S. children report the same.

Information released by the American Community Survey and Decennial Census show that today roughly 41 percent of U.S. children are born to a mother who is not married and 34 percent of U.S. children live with a single mom or dad. To put this number into perspective, in 1960 a mere 5 percent of U.S. children were born to single moms.
This recent data reflects many societal changes that are in turn impacting the familial structure in the U.S. and reshaping societal views and norms. For many families, gone are the days when a husband was expected to be the breadwinner and the wife the dutiful homemaker.

Today, more women than ever are choosing to pursue higher degrees and focus on building careers rather than meeting a spouse and starting a family. As a result, both men and women are getting married later in life and often have more wealth and assets if and when they do decide to get married and start a family.

For these individuals, it's wise to consider the many benefits of a prenuptial agreement. Gone are the days when a prenup was considered a precursor to divorce. Today, prenuptial agreements are readily used to not only protect assets respective spouses bring to a marriage, but also to protect each spouse from being saddled with the other's debts.

Source: Pew Research Center, "Less than half of U.S. kids today live in a 'traditional' family," Gretchen Livingston, Dec. 22, 2014

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