You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 11:17 a.m.

Census numbers: Michigan families go from 'ideal' to 'reality,' same as the nation

By Julie Baker

A half-century ago, more than three-quarters of American homes were headed by married couples. New figures show that dropped below 50 percent nationally and in Michigan in the past decade, according to a Booth News Service report.

Meanwhile, individuals living alone now make up more than a quarter of U.S. households, up from one in 10 in 1950, the report said.

The story chronicles the changing face of American families — from the '60s "Leave it to Beaver" era to to 2010, when married couples with kids made up 21 percent of total households.

Read the full report.



Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

Who needs a father for their teenager when you can just call the police and get a "surrogate father"? I see this happening on the scanner day and night. "mom says son threatening to kill himself", "mom says son threatened to hit her", "mom says daughter didn't come home last night". Last night it was "mom with 4 little kids needs officer to come and get a bat out of the house". Kids are out of control and maybe a father in the home would have helped.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:37 p.m.

Maybe these families have a father who lives in the home, but was out getting drunk last night. An abusive husband probably doesn't care if his son hits his mother. Maybe the father is a good, responsible man, but is in Iraq or Afghanistan.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 4:13 a.m.

The headline for the article seems to celebrate the fact that less then half of all homes are headed by married couples. Let's just celebrate the dissolution of the American family. Great. Kids do better with a mother and father in the home. End of discussion.


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

Not necessarily. If that father beats the mother and/or children or sexually abuses the children, it definitely is not better. There are also many other dysfunctions that exist in married couple households. Being married with children does not mean you are a healthy, functional person.

David Briegel

Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 12:31 a.m.

Julie, Just maybe the reality is actually better than that supposed ideal? Kinda seems like the people have "voted" and that 21% is a small minority! Maybe that is the story you should be covering! Maybe society should stop demonizing the "majority"! How arrogant for anyone to try to tell someone else what their family is or should be. It's not that different from the super model skinny people telling the pleasingly plump that something is wrong with them since most people don't resemble super models!!


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

In many of those "ideal" married couples families, there was a lot of dysfunction: abuse of all kinds, alcoholism, infidelities. Some of those male heads of household came home once or twice a year, but the couple was married. Families of various composition can be healthy, functional, happy and raise healthy, happy children. Living alone does not necessarily mean one is unhappy or often alone. Being married or living with others is no guarantee of happiness. Extended families are the norm worldwide and throughout history. The nuclear family is a new invention and not necessarily a positive one. Let's look at the health of families, not whether or not they meet some invented idea.


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

I'm *really* confused by the headline of this piece. The implication seems to be that having 75% of households headed by married couples is "ideal"? Or maybe that married-couple households are "ideal"?