5 Facts You Need to Know About American Families

Nic at Night classic re-runs no longer represent the American family.  In 1960, 37% of households included a married couple raising their own children.  Today, only 16% of households look like that.

As you strive to reach the modern family, here are 5 facts to keep in mind.

1.  Adults are delaying marriage.  The median age for marriage is now 29 for men and 27 for women.  In 1960, 65% of people ages 18 to 32 were married.  In 2013, only 26% of people ages 18 to 32 were married.

2.  Children.  In 1960, women ages 15 to 24 accounted for 40% of mothers with infants.  In 2011, women ages 15 to 24 only accounted for 22% of mothers with infants.  The average mother today has 1.9 children.  In 1960, the average mother had 3.7 children. 

3.  Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parents.  37% of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender adults have had a child at some point in their lives.  48% of LGBT women under the age of 50 have a child under the age of 10.  20% of LGBT men under the age of 50 have a child under the age of 10. 

4. Family structures.  44% of young people ages 18 to 29 have a step sibling.  This is compared to 23% of people ages 50 to 64 and only 16% of those 65 and older who have a step sibling.  Unmarried mothers account for 41% of births compared to only 5% in 1960.  72% of births to black women are to unmarried mothers, 53% for Hispanic mothers and 29% for white mothers.

5. Family diversity.  15% of all new marriages in the U.S. are between spouses of a different race or ethnicity.  This is compared to 7% in 1980.  Hispanics (26%) and Asians (28%) are the most likely to marriage outside their ethnicity.  

What does these trends mean for ministries who are striving to reach families?  How can be relevant for today's families?  

Be a place where families can belong before they believe.  Families walking in your doors will not be coming from a traditional Christian background.  They need space to explore and check out what it means to follow Christ before committing.  They need a place that will welcome them right where they are and patiently walk forward with them.

Reflect the diversity of your community.  Churches that want to reach a diverse community must be diverse.  Churches that limit themselves to one particular demographic will be very limited on how many people they can reach.

Be prepared to minister to families with non-traditional structures.  Single parents.  Same sex households, cohabiting parents, grandparents raising children, blended families, etc. 

Families are changing.  Are you prepared to reach them?