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Broken Homes and Shattered Dreams

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A family is a group of people living together and functioning as a single household, usually consisting of parents and their children. There are many types of families such as nuclear and single-parent. When people think of families, they usually think of two parents, one male and one female, and a child birthed from the mother. This is an example of a nuclear family. Up until recently, nuclear families were the majority of types of families in the United States. In recent times, this is not the case. Due to inconveniences such as divorce and domestic violence in the home, the amount of households and families has decreased the past few decades showing that the American family is falling apart.

The growth rate in the number of households has been slowing since the 1970’s. There are 1.1 million households currently in America, opposed to the 1.7 million in 1970. Conventionally, family households have accounted for a large majority of all households but by 2000, only 69% percent were families. This shows that full functioning families are becoming scarcer than ever before. The reasons for this are not unknown. One main reason is domestic violence, which are physically or emotionally harmful acts between husbands and wives or between other individuals in intimate relationships. Statistics show each year; at least 1 million women suffer

from non-fatal violence in their home. 4 million women experience a serious assault by an intimate partner during one year. Even worse, 3.3 million children are exposed to violence by family members against their mothers or female caretakers. Children of abused mothers are 1,500 times more likely to be abused. 40-60% of men, who abuse women, also abuse the children and nearly have the men who beat their wives, physically assault them at least 3 times per year. Mothers and children run away from the abusive fathers, and fathers abandon their families. The broken home is becoming quite typical in the new millennium.

In 2000, a counted 12 million families were run by a single parent alone. Unmarried couples made up a larger portion of family households in 2000 than in 1970. Single-mother families increased from 3 million in 1970 to 10 million in 2000. Single-father families increased from 393,000 to 2 million in the same time range. Not only are millions of families single-parented, but 40% of unmarried partners have children. Many times, unmarried partners split up when perhaps they would not have if they were married for the sake of the children. So now over ¼ of families are run by single-mothers and the children are raised without a father figure to give certain strengths and support in their lives. This often leads to marital issues in the children’s future. Single-parenting therefore, begins to revolve full circle. As the statistics grow worse and farther from what was the American family, we can see the downfall of nuclear and functioning homes.

In my opinion, yes, the family in America is indeed falling apart. The statistics are very convincing it their painful evidence. I believe that there is not much hope for the American family to improve although there is a chance for it to remain its status currently and not get worse. Another point brought to mind is that; all these statistics are nearly twice as harsh in the population of minorities such as African Americans. Nearly 50% of all the African American families in the United States are run by a single-mother. The only slight hope it that the chain of children who contribute to these broken families due to their childhood in a shattered household breaks so that a new cycle of healthy family lives may prosper. But in conclusion, I deem that the American family is falling apart rapidly due to the unfortunate tragedies of domestic violence and divorce.

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