Sample Article Paper on Historical Changes in the Family Relationship by Judith Seitzer

This week’s discussion will evaluate Judith Seitzer’s works Family Changes and Changing Family Demography. This piece is interesting because it provides insights into the changing family demographics and the impacts on children’s development. The author effectively utilizes a survey model to collect population data serves about family demographics. This approach is appropriate because it facilitates for collection of data from a large sample size, which is critical to enhance accuracy of information. In this excerpt, Suizert discusses the changing aspects of life expectancy, increased exposure to stepfamilies, high rates in and out of intimate relationships, and their interactions to describe the contemporary family setting. Besides, the author evaluates the extent to which individuals are expected to achieve the long-term obligations that define kinship’s role and structure (Seltzer, 2019). These questions are crucial because the family serves as a critical safety net for members. Hence, the shift in family demographics plays a significant part in increasing uncertainty about existing relationships. Further, economically disadvantaged families tend to more uncertain and less stable. This uncertainty can aggravate these disadvantages by weakening individuals’ ability to rely on family members to enhance their situation.

What is the article about and how is this article relevant?

Changes in family and household composition introduce new questions for families. The family’s notable changes include a higher number of generations alive at the same time, exposure to informal unions, and the percentage of children born out of wedlock (Seltzer, 2019). Advances in science and biomedicine have substantially increased the number of grandparents, which raise the number of children with all four grandparents. This has increased the number of vertical kin alive.

The issues of changing a couple of relationships inspire new about who is part of the family. Prevalent trends of cohabiting partners have increased dramatically over the last several decades. Despite the increase in frequency, these relationships remain highly unstable besides lasting for a short time. Strikingly, cohabitation trends are higher among women with lower academic qualifications than those with more schooling.

The number of children born out of wedlock has soared over the last couple of decades. These non-marital births are attributed to the high fraction of cohabiting couples. However, significant ethnic and racial perspectives emerge in the union context of births.

Characteristics of modern Families

The main lessons highlight the main issues demographers are trying to unravel. Many individuals with linked lives characterize modern families; however, not all people in one family have the same links, as people can be members of numerous families simultaneously (Seltzer, 2019). In the evaluation of families, demographers identify that family members are likely to live apart. In addition, people living together may not be family members. On another note, weak family links imply that some members exist in individual lives.

Further, demographers reveal that family members are likely to live apart. This phenomenon can be attributed to divorce and high instances of childbearing outside cohabitation and marriages. Besides, the high frequency of romantic relationships between unmarried parents elevates this issue. For example, it is likely for a child to grow under the care of a single mother who potentially has a romantic relationship with a nonresident father (Ganong & Coleman, 2016). It also happens that offspring are not within their parents’ care or household; nonetheless, they are part of their parents’ family. The fact that most parents and adult children live separate lives introduces the question of what behaviors of solidarity enhance their relationships.

The subject of cohabiting parents raises issues about who is part of the family. The American society considers couples living together with their children as a family (Bloome, 2017). However, parents may disagree with parents whether cohabiting partners constitute a family. Besides, there is a growing tendency of adult children referring to their parent’s partners as other nonrelative or stepparents. The terminologies that individuals apply to describe cohabiters may indicate whether they consider the person part of the family.




Bloome, D. (2017). Childhood family structure and intergenerational income mobility in the United States. Demography54(2), 541-569.

Ganong, L., & Coleman, M. (2016). The dynamics of Stepparenting. Stepfamily Relationships, 143-173.

Seltzer, J. A. (2019). Family change and changing family demography. Demography56(2), 405-426.