Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Family Life Comparisons

This interview has some interesting facts about family life in the USA versus other countries.  Basically, the numbers show that kids in this country have worse family lives than kids in all the other rich countries.

" American children face much more movement of parents and parent-figures in and out of their households than do children anywhere else. Take children who see three different fathers, stepfathers, and/or mother's boyfriends in their homes by the time they are fifteen. The percentage of American children who live with that many partners is 8 percent, which is three times as high as the next highest country (Sweden at 2.6 percent)."

"Take two children, one growing up with married parents in the United States, and one growing up with unmarried parents in Sweden—which child has the higher likelihood of seeing his parents' relationship break up? Answer: the American kid, because children living with married parents in the United States have a higher probability of experiencing a break-up than do children living with unmarried parents in Sweden."

Of course, it is important to remember that these kinds of overall statistics obscure the fact that America is a very diverse place, with a lot of different cultures.  Some parts of this country are basically like Europe, with rich parents and stable lives.  Others are not.  I am reminded of a P.J. O'Rourke quote:  "It is true that In Scandinavia there is no poverty.  But it is also true that in America, among Scandinavians, there is no poverty."

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