Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Not just bowling alone

The Census Bureau has just released Examining American Household Composition: 1990 and 2000. The report makes interesting reading, although the lead sentence may cause some heartburn: "Householders living alone had become the most common specific household structure in 2000, ..." Yes, almost 26% were living alone but all the rest lived with someone else. It is just that the way that the remaining 74% are carved up does not give rise to a single category that tops 26%. I guess that Census tabulators want to make the news too.

One thing that the bad news bears seldom acknowledge is that more people now live alone because they can. Children in poorer times and places stayed with parents (and grandparents and others) because a separate household was not affordable -- not necessarily because they were better people.

Of the 45 relationship combinations enumerated, fairly high up on the list (#15 and #16) were households with adopted children. Over 1 million households included an adopted child. No comparisons with 1990 are possible because the question was not asked. Yet, I hope that we keep tracking this one and also that we see it trending up.