A generation or two ago, many Americans defined "family" as a mom, dad, and their kids. But today's modern family comes in many shapes and sizes.
In exploring how the definition of family has changed, our study identified six unique modern family cohorts: Multi-Generational Families, Single-Parent Families, Same-Sex Couple Families, Blended Families, Older Parent with Young Children Families, and Boomerang Families. We also surveyed traditional family households so we could compare their responses
Traditional families consist of adults ages 35-65 married to someone of the opposite sex, with at least one child under 21 living in the household. Traditional families have no stepchildren, no adult children who have returned home, and no one beside the spouse or children living in the household.
"The Dream was parents happily married young ... two healthy kids, buy a house right away, send kids to school ... family vacations ... being educated and get a secure job with benefits that would allow you to have a better life." – Warren
Same-sex couple families consist of married or unmarried couples living together with a member of the same gender. Our study considers same-sex couples a family regardless of whether they have children.
"I think they say we try to live life to the fullest and enjoy each other's company while having fun." – Jeff
Blended families consist of parents who are married or living together with someone of the opposite sex, and who live with a child and/or stepchild from a previous relationship in the household.
"The rule of the house is respecting all members of the family and trying to keep things unified. The definition of success for this family is growth and learning as we go along and family goes to another level." – Rose
Older parent with young children families consist of a family where one parent is older than 40 and there is at least one child under age five in the household. Our study defined this cohort as couples of the opposite sex who are married or living together, with fewer than 10 years' age difference between the partners.
"The most important time of my day is being there for my kids to hear about their day at school, listen to their issues, help with their homework, or sit and read with them." – Pattie
Boomerang families consist of adults ages 40-65 who are married or living together with someone of the opposite sex, with at least one adult child (ages 21-35) who left home and then returned to live with his or her parents.
"I love that my family is supportive of one another. I am most proud of my children." – Donna