No more 'typical' Americans?
An interactive site lets you look inside U.S. households. What you see might surprise you.
This post comes from Lynn Mucken at MSN Money.
The New York Times has created a slick interactive site titled "How Many Households Are Like Yours?" that, surprisingly enough, also lets you explore the demographics of households that are not the least bit like yours.
It's a lot more interesting to see how the other half -- or in my case, the other 78.57% -- lives.
For instance, did you know that while 26.7% of American households composed of only a single male had incomes between $50,000 and $150,000, just 17.9% of single-female households did. The gender gap at work, it would seem.
However, in households with only two gay men, 53.6% had a household income between $50,000 and $150,000. For gay women, it was 56.7%. What would you make of that?
The New York Times site uses statistics culled from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which looks at 250,000 households annually and then puts out a five-year portrait of Americans. The latest statistics are from 2005-2009. Post continues after video.(The American Community Survey, by the way, is unique in that it is hated both by conservatives and ACLU types. For some reason, nearly everyone is offended by being asked whether they have a toilet that flushes, although it's probably the $5,000 fine for refusing to fill out the questionaire that irritates them most.)
The NYT site lets you click to almost any household makeup -- married heterosexual couples, single women with two kids, single men living with both parents -- and then bust it down on a basis of race, income and historical trend.
Play with it for a while and you come up with little gems. For instance, the percentage of married households peaked at 23.06 -- it's 21.43% now -- in 1970. Why 1970? Wasn't that in the hippy age?
If you want to delve deeper, go to the American Community Survey site, where you can find things that make you wonder, like why do 21.3% of the people in Illinois speak a language other than English in their home, while none of the flanking states -- Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Michigan -- report figures higher than 8.2%?
What you also will see is that although you might be in a plurality when it comes to marital status, race and income, you definitely are not typical. There is no such thing as typical anymore.
"Six years running now, according to census data, more households consist of the unmarried than the married," wrote The New York Times in an article about a family that consists of a child, mom, sperm donor and his lover.
More people seem to be deciding that the contours of the traditional nuclear family do not work for them, spawning a profusion of cobbled-together networks in need of nomenclature. Unrelated parents living together, sharing chores and child-rearing. Friends who occupy separate homes but rely on each other for holidays, health care proxies, financial support.
More on MSN Money:
Sure, there are no more typical Americans when it's free speech to cuss and disrespect a police officer, burn the American flag, and undermine the military. When everyone is programmed to be a victim of a terrible society where the poor are fat and three kids provides a living for those who don't want to work.
I remember an article in Time Magazine around 1977 or 1978 during the Cultural Revolution in China where Americans questioned the future of the Chinese family and they laughed. Look at the American family now and see how many kids are causing problems because they are not in a traditional family setting.
I agree, there is no typical American and it's destroying us.
As a genealogist (family historian), who has spent nearly 50 years researching all sorts of "American" families, I can tell you that the "typical" American family was always a myth... and now that we have DNA, it only adds to the mix.
Here's a family I was just researching. An Irish woman (b 1868) immigrates to New Zealand. 2 of her sisters married brothers and emmigrated to Australia. 3 other sisters immigrate to Brockton, Massachusetts. In New Zealand, she marries a Railroad suveyor, who happened to have been born in Santa Fe, New Mexico to a French-Jewish father from New Orleans and an Hispanic-Pueblo Indian mother. They have a son in New Zealand, then moved to Melbourne, where they have another son. The husband then dies, the mother and 2 sons then move to NYC by way of Germany.
One of the sons, then became a priest, who ended up doing missionary work in China, before retiring to Chicago. The other son ultimately became a farmer in Nebraska.
Believe it or not.... such stories are not all that unusual
My point above is this: If I don't fill one out I face the possibility of a fine or worse. If an illegal doesn't fill it out what happens? Great country huh? That is if you aren't a citizen of it.
What a worthless article... at least she provided links to some info I suppose. Consider the quote "For instance, did you know that while 26.7% of American households composed of only a single male had incomes between $50,000 and $150,000, just 17.9% of single-female households did. The gender gap at work, it would seem."
There is no context to evaluate this statement in...i.e. age differences in the sexes, occupational analysis, and experience or years in the current job with the same company. etc The author just jumps to the unfounded conclusion that it must be the "gender gap"
Lynn my 4 year old child could see the faulty logic in that...and I don't have children. Please tell me you don't have any formal training in journalism...I prefer to think that nepotism is the only reason your allowed to publish such drivel.
Two things don't really make much sense about this article. The main one is that married households peaked at about 23% in 1970, yet it is supposed to be surprising that unmarried households were the majority for the past six years. If marrieds peaked at 23% in 1970, you would think that unmarrieds have been the majority for the past 200+ years.
The other thing is that if about 17% of single females had incomes between $50K and $150K, we know nothing of how the gender gap goes until we know how many single female households had incomes of over $150K (or under $50K) in their different groupings.
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