Fifty years ago, having a big family might have been considered more of the norm than unusual. But for the baby boomer generation today, the trend is changing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of families with their own child living at home decreased to 46 percent in 2008, from 52 percent in 1950, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The data gathered by the Census Bureau indicates the aging of the population and changing fertility patterns are the reasons for the decreases in the percentage of families with their own child under 18 at home.
In 1950, 52 percent of family households had their own child under 18. During the years when the baby boomers were young, this percentage increased, reaching 57 percent in the early 1960s. In 2008, however, when the baby boomers were about ages 44 to 62, and likely to be householders themselves, the percentage of families with a child had declined to 46 percent.
Among the factors that contributed to the decrease in the percentage of family households with children under 18:
• As adults live longer, a larger proportion of married couple households will be those who are older and either childless, or whose adult children live elsewhere. In 1968, 29 percent of married men were age 55 and over, as were 22 percent of married women. In 2008, 38 percent of married men were 55 and over, as were 33 percent of married women.
• Increases in childlessness — The percentage of women age 40 to 44 who were childless increased from 10 percent in 1976 to 20 percent in 2006.