I unashamedly confess I enjoy movies based on books. My favorites involve families and relationships as they were prior to the 20th Century. I love the variety of characters: each family had a solid number of people in it! In 1900, the most common U.S. household size was 7 or more; now it’s below 2.5. In 1950, 78% of U.S. residences were married-couple households; today it’s 52%. One out of four residences is a single-person household, and over a third of births are outside of marriage.
At coffee with Dave today I put forward another of my theories: the way we care for his mom—each family member participating—is the way it has been in all of history; the modern trend is a 50-year hiccup. I added, “We recognize there’s going to be ‘The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly’ in all aspects of our lives—marriages, children, jobs, even our hobbies. How could we make the elderly an isolated category? ( i.e. I’ll keep it as long as it’s not ugly.)”
I described homes with three generations—the way people lived in Victorian England and even in America: the patriarch or matriarch lived upstairs, with daughters and maids approaching throughout the day with a tray of soup or towels. With some exceptions, everybody pitched in.
More from that demographics website:§ — The trend is separation of cohabitation, marriage, and childbearing. § — 50 years ago, over half of Americans viewed someone who did not want to get married as selfish. § — Marriage is being postponed or replaced. § — Women abandoning the role of wives and mothers “can be interpreted as abnormal and expressing a situation of crisis.”
Our household is currently holding at a solid five. And we help each other. And the additional two in their own apartment help out as well. And my sibs come and help. We’re a family.
So: another one of my theories? It’s a place like this that hopefully brings up those factbook.com statistics—even if it’s just a smidge.