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Is the U.S. Family in a Moral Decline? Essay

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Updated: Apr 16th, 2020

There is no use denying the fact family is one of the most important institutions which influences the functioning of the whole society. Throughout all the history of humanity, the family was the basis which helped people to develop their states and survive. It is obvious that there were many different approaches to this institution, and people had different visions of ideal family. However, its existence seemed unchangeable as people believed in its necessity.

Moreover, it was based on such traditional values as love, respect, and roles of man and woman. Thus, nowadays. These values become less and less significant, and people start thinking about the necessity of family. Ideas of the decline of this issue appeared. That is why it is possible to analyze different points of view on the problem to understand what factors influence it and what is the future of the family in the USA.

There are many works devoted to this very issue. Kathleen Gerson, in her article Resolving Family Dilemmas and Conflicts: Beyond Utopia, tends to show the main factors which influence this issue. She states that the situation started to change fifty years ago. The concept of the homemaker-breadwinner family, which has been popular for decades, starts to lose its importance (Gerson 180). Nowadays, less than 15 percents of households fit this pattern (Gerson 180).

That is why it is possible to speak about some significant changes in the traditional image of the family. It is also obvious that these changes appear under the influence of a great number of modern factors which developed in the last 50 years.

The author states that economic shifts can be taken as very important factors that influence this issue. It is difficult not to agree with this idea. Moreover, Gibson-Davis, Edin, and McLanahan also outline this factor stating that on the background of the assumption that married people are happier than single ones, marriage rates among couples with low incomes slowly decrease (1301).

So, it becomes obvious that the inability to earn money serves as one of the main barriers which prevent people from marriage. It is a rather threatening fact as there are some tendencies in society that can be taken as the signs of a further decrease in incomes among social class (Furstenberg 3).

Resting on these facts, it is possible to say that the decline of the family seems to be inevitable under modern conditions. The financial crisis makes the situation even more complicated. More and more people suffer from its aftermath, being not able to find a job and guarantee the survival of their potential family. That is why economic factors can be taken as the real reason for the decline of the family in the USA, while there is the idea that moral degradation is this very reason as some shift in traditional values can be observed.

However, Gerson states that traditional values changes, though, decades of investigations show that it is useless to speak about the pernicious influence of new moral values, such as economic independence of women or their desire to build a career, on family (Gerson 182)

With this in mind, it is possible to conclude that difficult economic situations and gradual deterioration of the state of social class result in the decline of the family in the USA. Being a very important institution, it now needs some help in order to improve the existing situation and guarantee the further development of society and state.

Works Cited

Gerson, Kathleen. “Resolving Family Dilemmas and Conflicts: Beyond Utopia”, Contemporary Sociology, 29. 1 (2000): 180-187

Gibson-Dacis, Christina, Kathryn Edin and Sara McLanahan. “High Hopes but Even Higher Expectations: The Retreat from Marriage among Low-Income Couples” Journal of Marriage and Family, 67. 5 (2005): 1301-1312

Furstenberg, Frank. Diverging Development: The Not-so-Invisible Hand of Social Class in the United States. n.d.

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