Family Complexity and Poverty

Since 1960, the percentage of births that occur outside of marriage has risen from 5% to over 40%. How does the changing complexity of families in America relate to poverty and what challenges do families today face?

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"Family Complexity and Poverty," released in April 2013, was prepared by intern Rebekah Ludwig with guidance from IRP editor Deborah Johnson, relying on the research of IRP affiliates and other researchers. Sources include "Family Structure, Childbearing, and Parental Employment: Implications for the Level and Trend in Poverty," in IRP's Focus newsletter 26(2); and the introduction to the edited volume entitled Social Class and Changing Families in an Unequal America, by Marcia Carlson and Paula England. Special thanks go to IRP affiliate Professor Marcia Carlson for her guidance in preparing this fact sheet.