In an expanded look at the structure of the American family, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2007, 50 million children in the United States lived with married parents and 2.2 million children lived with two unmarried parents.
According to Families and Living Arrangements: 2007, some 73.7 million children younger than 18 lived in the United States. Of these, 67.8 percent lived with married parents, 2.9 percent lived with two unmarried parents, 25.8 percent lived with one parent and 3.5 percent lived with no parent present.
These data come from the 2007 Current Population Survey. This survey, which has been continuously conducted since 1940, has been expanded to include two new questions that allow tabulation about unmarried partner couples and their children.
One question identifies unmarried partners living together in the same household. The other question directly addresses the situation of children living with two parents ― in the past only one parent was identified. Before 2007, a child living with two unmarried parents was tabulated as a child living with a single parent.
In 2007, 67.1 million opposite sex couples lived together; 60.7 million were married couples, and 6.4 million were unmarried couples.
Four out of 10, or approximately 2.5 million opposite-sex unmarried couples, lived with at least one biological child of either partner. In contrast, 26.8 million married couple families had children living at home.
Among the findings about the 2.2 million children living with two unmarried parents:
- Forty-two percent of these were younger than 3, compared with 17 percent of children younger than 3 who lived with married parents.
- Almost half of these children (47 percent) were white, non-Hispanic, compared with nearly two-thirds of children (64 percent) living with two married parents.
- Thirty percent of these children were Hispanic, compared with 20 percent of children living with their married parents.
- Fifteen percent of these children were black, compared with 8 percent of children living with their married parents.
- Twelve percent of these children had at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree or higher. By comparison, 45 percent of children living with married parents had at least one parent with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Fifty-six percent of these children had both parents in the labor force, while 63 percent of children with married parents had both parents in the labor force.
- About three in five (57 percent) of these children living with their unmarried parents were in rental units, compared with about one in five (21 percent) children living with their married parents.
Of the 2.5 million unmarried couples living with at least one biological child of either partner:
- One-quarter of these had at least one Hispanic partner, compared with one-fifth of married couples with children.
- Less than 10 percent of men or women in such couples had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with 35 percent of men and 36 percent of women who were married with children.
- Twenty percent of these couples had partners earning within $5,000 of each other, compared with 11 percent of married couples with children.