Structural And Cultural Factors That Changed The U.s. Family Structure Essay

Structural And Cultural Factors That Changed The U.s. Family Structure Essay

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1. In the past 50 years, The American family structure has gone though some drastic changes. Family structure includes the combination of individuals that make up a family. There are both structural and cultural factors that have influenced the structure of the American family. Specifically, there has been a decrease in family size over the past 50 years. Structural factors are institutions that influence our lives, including family, education, religion, and policies. Cultural factors are beliefs, norms, and traditions, which guide our decisions.
One of the biggest structural factors that changed the U.S. family structure over the last 50 years is the decline in the sizes of families due to medical advances. From 1800-1900, the average amount of children born was cut in half (Cohen, 44). This large decline was due to health care and technological advances, which has been able to increase the reliability and efficacy of birth control and prevent pregnancy (Cohen, 44). Although not widely available at first, the most common form of birth control, “the pill” first became available in the 1960’s. Nowadays, approximately 76 million women use the pill worldwide (Cohen, 45). The use of the pill has not only decreased the amount of offspring that women have, but it has also increased women’s control over their body.
Secondly, the structural factor of an increased cost of living has changed the family structure over the last 50 years and decreased the average family size. Changes to the economy have caused it to become more expensive to have a large family. The cost of living includes: food, housing, health care, clothing, education, and many other miscellaneous costs. Although the cost of raising children can vary greatly depending on...


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...ly to make it through high school, in order to break the divide, education needs to become more equal among social classes. Secondly, establishing a living wage would also help to decrease the inequality among life changes. A living wage is higher than minimum wage. Living wages enable individuals to earn enough to support themselves and their families.
The course of an individual’s life is impacted by the chances they are given throughout their lifetime. As discussed, there are many factors, which are able to negatively or positively impact a child’s life chances, including, but not limited to race/ethnicity, gender, and social class. These factors also intersect to increase negative or positive impacts. However, the life chances of individuals can be altered though policy changes. If policy changes were to be made, the equality of life chances could be increased.

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