This spring, legal experts and families spoke with Policy Watch about how state law is not keeping pace with science and the non-traditional family unit.
The American family two generations ago was portrayed as a married heterosexual couple living with their genetic offspring, and family law was promulgated to accommodate those relationships. Families look very different today.
Here are some statistics showing the nation’s changing family dynamics:
4 in 10: The number of births occurring to women who are single or living with a non-marital partner
69: Percentage of children living in a two-parent household (compared to 73 percent in 2000 and 87 percent in 1960)
62: Percentage of children living with two married parents
15: Percentage of children living with parents in a remarriage
7: Percentage of children living with parents who are cohabitating
16: Percentage of children living in “blended families,” households with a stepparent, stepsibling or half-sibling
26 years: The average age of first-time moms (compared to 21 years in 1970)
67: Percentage of mothers who have some college experience and have infants at home (compared to 18 percent in 1960)
70: Percentage of working mothers who have children younger than 18
40: Percentage of families with children under 18 at home that include mothers who earn the majority of the family income (up from 11 percent in 1960 and 34 percent in 2000)
$88,000: The median income in families with married breadwinner moms
$84,500: The median income in families with married breadwinner fathers
$24,000: The median income in families headed by unmarried mothers
6.1 million: Number of women in the U.S. between 15 and 44 years old who have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant
12: Percentage of American women who have utilized infertility services
1 million: Number of babies born in the U.S. using assisted reproductive technology
2 million to 3.7 million: Number of U.S. children under age of 18 who have a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parent
200,000: Number of U.S. children under the age of 18 who were being raised by same-sex couples (in 2015)
Sources: Pew Research Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, Princeton University Print
Melissa Boughton covers local, state and federal courts and writes about key decisions that impact the lives of North Carolinians.