Number of Children Living with Two Parents Increasing, Data Shows
Newly published data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that the proportion of American children living in two-parent families increased to 71.1% in 2023, continuing a slight upward trajectory since 2015. The numbers appear to contradict a popular narrative in the mainstream media that American society no longer aspires to establish households with a mother and father to parent children.
As noted by Nicholas Zill, a research psychologist and a senior fellow of the Institute for Family Studies (IFS), the Census Bureau data “includes children living with a birth parent and stepparent and couples who are cohabiting without being married.” Zill goes on to observe that the proportion of children who live with two parents has been inching upward for some time. After increasing from 67.3% to 69.4% percent between 2005 and 2010, the number has steadily creeped upward from 69.2% in 2015 to 71.1% by the end of last year.
The numbers appear to contradict widely accepted narratives offered by writers at legacy media outlets like The Atlantic, The New York Times, and a number of others about the supposedly inevitable decline in two-parent family structures. As Zill observes, “The trends reviewed here show us that those who predicted a relentless increase in family instability or single parenthood were simply wrong. There seem to be growing numbers of young adults in all racial and ethnic groups who realize the economic, educational, and emotional benefits of marriage for themselves and their future children.”
Zill further points out two recent trends that he argues could “extend the resurgence of the traditional family[:] the older ages at which adults embark on parenthood nowadays and the increased numbers of recent immigrants in the U.S. population. Women and men who begin having children in their 30s and 40s are more likely to marry beforehand and stay married. Likewise, recent immigrants have shown a propensity to marry before having kids and then to remain married.”
Experts are also noting how the increasing number of children living with two parents is an indication of how the stable presence of a mother and father in the home strengthens a culture of life that leads to fewer abortions.
“The CDC data on the number of children killed through an abortion shows things have gotten worse over the past few years with one exception,” Mary Szoch, director of the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “Women who are married have had fewer abortions each year since 2018. The 2021 data shows that only 12.7% of women who underwent abortions were married. We know that the very best environment for a child to be raised in is one where there is a loving mother and father. Clearly, the positive impact of growing up in a two-parent household begins long before birth, and in many instances, it is the difference between life and death for a child.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.