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The Origins of African-American Family Structure

Steve Ruggles
American Sociological Review
Vol. 59, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 136-151
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096137
Page Count: 16
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The Origins of African-American Family Structure
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Abstract

I use a new data source, the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, to trace race differences in family structure between 1880 and 1980. Analysis confirms recent findings that the high incidence among African-Americans of single parenthood and children residing without their parents is not a recent phenomenon. From 1880 through 1960, black children were two to three times more likely to reside without one or both parents than were white children. In recent years, however, the race differential in parental absence has grown. Also, blacks have had a consistently higher percentage of extended households than have whites, but until 1940 this was the result of single parenthood and parentlessness among children: Extended households were more common among whites once the effects of absent parents were controlled.

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