1. Explain the major factors or historical foundation that contributed to making the selected social issue important for sociological consideration Single parent families have a direct correlation to increased poverty, crime rates, social service costs, and future single family households. The family unit is the foundation of the post industrial social organization in the United States. The traditional family unit from the inception of the United States supported childcare and development, while allowing the primary wage earner to focus on supporting the household. Since the early 1970s the cost of living has increased relative to wages; this has lead to the need for dual income households, further increasing the pressure on single parent households. Statistics show that children in single family households are more likely to become adults with children in single parent families. It becomes a perpetual cycle that ultimately will erode our ability to support generational success. The number of single parent families continues to rise. The most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2008 show that 29.5% of children are living in single parent households; this represents a 51.3% increase since 1980. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). 2. Describe how society defines the social issue
For society single parent families are an accelerator for poverty, class inequality, social service expenses, and youth delinquency. Diminished social control occurs as children often experience less attachment to the family unit, are presented with fewer opportunities, are less involved in social activities appropriate to their age group, and have less respect for adults and authority overall (Macionis, 2010, p. 224). Society also views single parent families as a personal issue involving the parents; in the case of divorce it is also a legal issue involving the termination of a contract. The number of single parent families continues to rise. The most recent U.S. Census Bureau statistics from 2008 show that 29.5% of children are living in single parent households; this represents a 51.3% increase since 1980. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). The number of African American single parent families is 54%, far exceeding any other group measured by the U.S. Census Bureau. Additionally, single parent families are an economic issue with significant linkage to childhood poverty. “Ninety percent of single-parent families are headed by females. Not surprisingly, single mothers with dependent children have the highest rate of poverty across all demographic groups.” (Olson, 1993, pp. 42, 50-56). “Episodic poverty rates for single parent households headed by a female is 51.8%” (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011); this is the highest poverty rate for any sub group as tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau. Further contributing to economic disadvantage in these female head of household families is the issue of parental support payments. “52% of court ordered support payments are not made as stated in the court order. 3.2 million “deadbeat dads” fail to support their youngsters” (Macionis, 2010, p. 476).
3. Describe the social categories that may be affected by the social issue * Social Class
* Income and wealth
Lower income, child care expenses, and isolation that often accompany single parent households affect social Class. One parent acting as the sole wage earner, while carrying out all other head of household duties, leaves little time for socialization. This compromises parental interaction and emotional support for the children in exchange for income and the fulfillment of basic daily needs. Income in single parent households is 50.8% lower than dual parent households (John J. Hisnanick). Wealth comparisons yield similar results.
Never-married childless women have a median net worth of US$23,000 compared to US$1,000 for never-married women with children....