Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
Table 22. Number and percentage distribution of family households, by family structure and presence of own children under 18: Selected years, 1970 through 2011
[Standard errors appear in parentheses]
Family structure
and presence of children
1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Change, 1990 to 2000 Change, 2000 to 2011
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  Number (in thousands) Percent change
All families 51,456 (257.3) 59,550 (271.4) 66,090 (307.8) 72,025 (311.6) 78,425 (227.5) 77,873 (240.1) 78,850 (241.0) 78,833 (241.0) 78,613 (240.8) 9.0   (0.69) 9.1   (0.58)
Married-couple families 44,728 (243.6) 49,112 (252.7) 52,317 (283.3) 55,311 (289.5) 58,945 (211.3) 58,370 (218.6) 59,118 (219.6) 58,410 (218.6) 58,036 (218.1) 5.7   (0.80) 4.9   (0.68)
Without own children under 18 19,196 (168.7) 24,151 (187.3) 27,780 (218.1) 30,062 (230.5) 32,787 (170.6) 33,197 (174.7) 33,989 (176.5) 33,835 (176.1) 34,098 (176.7) 8.2   (1.19) 13.4   (1.05)
With own children under 18 25,532 (192.0) 24,961 (190.1) 24,537 (206.4) 25,248 (214.1) 26,158 (155.2) 25,173 (154.7) 25,129 (154.6) 24,575 (153.1) 23,938 (151.3) 2.9 ! (1.23) -5.2   (1.00)
One own child under 18 8,163 (112.5) 9,671 (122.0) 9,583 (133.0) 9,402 (136.2) 10,127 (100.7) 9,733 (99.3) 9,732 (99.3) 9,567 (98.5) 9,300 (97.1) -1.9   (1.97)   (†)
Two own children under 18 8,045 (111.7) 9,488 (120.9) 9,784 (134.3) 10,274 (142.1) 10,497 (102.4) 9,886 (100.0) 9,861 (99.9) 9,658 (98.9) 9,527 (98.3) 5.0 ! (2.05) -7.3   (1.60)
Three or more own children                                                
under 18 9,325 (119.9) 5,802 (95.3) 5,170 (98.5) 5,572 (105.9) 5,534 (75.3) 5,555 (75.6) 5,536 (75.5) 5,351 (74.3) 5,111 (72.6) 7.8 ! (2.90) -8.3   (2.18)
                                                 
Families with male householder,
   no spouse present
1,228 (44.2) 1,733 (52.5) 2,884 (73.9) 4,028 (90.4) 5,063 (72.1) 5,100 (72.5) 5,252 (73.6) 5,580 (75.8) 5,559 (75.7) 39.7   (4.76) 38.0   (3.62)
Without own children under 18 887 (37.6) 1,117 (42.2) 1,731 (57.4) 2,242 (67.7) 3,049 (56.2) 2,937 (55.3) 3,141 (57.1) 3,356 (59.0) 3,334 (58.8) 29.5   (5.81) 48.7   (5.20)
With own children under 18 341 (23.3) 616 (31.3) 1,153 (46.9) 1,786 (60.5) 2,015 (45.8) 2,162 (47.5) 2,111 (46.9) 2,224 (48.2) 2,225 (48.2) 54.9   (8.20) 24.6   (5.01)
One own child under 18 179 (16.9) 374 (24.4) 723 (37.2) 1,131 (48.2) 1,243 (36.1) 1,323 (37.2) 1,300 (36.9) 1,375 (37.9) 1,337 (37.4) 56.4   (10.45) 18.2 ! (6.03)
Two own children under 18 87 (11.8) 165 (16.2) 307 (24.2) 483 (31.6) 553 (24.1) 597 (25.0) 583 (24.7) 576 (24.6) 627 (25.7) 57.3   (16.12) 29.8 ! (10.01)
Three or more own children
    under 18
75 (10.9) 77 (11.1) 123 (15.3) 171 (18.8) 218 (15.1) 242 (15.9) 229 (15.5) 273 (16.9) 262 (16.6)   (†) 53.2 ! (19.44)
                                                 
Families with female householder,
   no spouse present
5,500 (92.8) 8,705 (116.0) 10,890 (141.4) 12,687 (156.9) 14,416 (118.9) 14,404 (119.7) 14,480 (120.0) 14,843 (121.4) 15,019 (122.1) 16.5   (2.09) 18.4   (1.75)
Without own children under 18 2,642 (64.7) 3,261 (71.8) 4,290 (89.9) 5,116 (101.6) 5,832 (77.2) 6,030 (78.7) 6,086 (79.1) 6,424 (81.2) 6,422 (81.2) 19.3   (3.44) 25.5   (2.95)
With own children under 18 2,858 (67.2) 5,445 (92.3) 6,599 (111.0) 7,571 (122.8) 8,585 (93.1) 8,374 (92.4) 8,394 (92.5) 8,419 (92.6) 8,597 (93.5) 14.7   (2.68) 13.6   (2.22)
One own child under 18 1,008 (40.1) 2,398 (61.6) 3,225 (78.1) 3,777 (87.6) 4,280 (66.4) 4,104 (65.2) 4,185 (65.8) 4,207 (66.0) 4,375 (67.3) 17.1   (3.93) 15.8   (3.22)
Two own children under 18 810 (35.9) 1,817 (53.7) 2,173 (64.2) 2,458 (70.9) 2,765 (53.6) 2,675 (52.8) 2,696 (53.0) 2,714 (53.2) 2,681 (52.8) 13.1 ! (4.67) 9.1 ! (3.81)
Three or more own children
    under 18
1,040 (40.7) 1,230 (44.2) 1,202 (47.9) 1,336 (52.4) 1,540 (40.1) 1,594 (40.8) 1,514 (39.8) 1,499 (39.6) 1,541 (40.1)   (†) 15.3 ! (5.43)
  Percentage distribution of all families Change in percentage points
All families 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†) 100.0 (†)   (†)   (†)
Married-couple families 86.9 (0.19) 82.5 (0.20) 79.2 (0.22) 76.8 (0.23) 75.2 (0.16) 75.0 (0.16) 75.0 (0.16) 74.1 (0.16) 73.8 (0.16) -2.4   (0.31) -3.0   (0.28)
Without own children under 18 37.3 (0.27) 40.6 (0.25) 42.0 (0.27) 41.7 (0.26) 41.8 (0.18) 42.6 (0.18) 43.1 (0.18) 42.9 (0.18) 43.4 (0.18) -0.3 ! (0.37) 1.6   (0.32)
With own children under 18 49.6 (0.28) 41.9 (0.26) 37.1 (0.26) 35.1 (0.26) 33.4 (0.17) 32.3 (0.17) 31.9 (0.17) 31.2 (0.17) 30.5 (0.17) -2.1   (0.36) -4.6   (0.31)
One own child under 18 15.9 (0.20) 16.2 (0.19) 14.5 (0.19) 13.1 (0.18) 12.9 (0.12) 12.5 (0.12) 12.3 (0.12) 12.1 (0.12) 11.8 (0.12) -1.4   (0.26) -1.2   (0.22)
Two own children under 18 15.6 (0.20) 15.9 (0.19) 14.8 (0.19) 14.3 (0.19) 13.4 (0.12) 12.7 (0.12) 12.5 (0.12) 12.3 (0.12) 12.1 (0.12) -0.5 ! (0.27) -2.1   (0.22)
Three or more own children
    under 18
18.1 (0.21) 9.7 (0.15) 7.8 (0.14) 7.7 (0.14) 7.1 (0.09) 7.1 (0.09) 7.0 (0.09) 6.8 (0.09) 6.5 (0.09) -0.1 ! (0.20) -1.2   (0.17)
                                                 
Families with male householder,
   no spouse present
2.4 (0.09) 2.9 (0.09) 4.4 (0.11) 5.6 (0.12) 6.5 (0.09) 6.5 (0.09) 6.7 (0.09) 7.1 (0.09) 7.1 (0.09) 1.2   (0.17) 1.5   (0.15)
Without own children under 18 1.7 (0.07) 1.9 (0.07) 2.6 (0.09) 3.1 (0.09) 3.9 (0.07) 3.8 (0.07) 4.0 (0.07) 4.3 (0.07) 4.2 (0.07) 0.5   (0.13) 1.1   (0.12)
With own children under 18 0.7 (0.05) 1.0 (0.05) 1.7 (0.07) 2.5 (0.08) 2.6 (0.06) 2.8 (0.06) 2.7 (0.06) 2.8 (0.06) 2.8 (0.06) 0.7   (0.11) 0.4   (0.10)
One own child under 18 0.3 (0.03) 0.6 (0.04) 1.1 (0.06) 1.6 (0.07) 1.6 (0.05) 1.7 (0.05) 1.6 (0.05) 1.7 (0.05) 1.7 (0.05) 0.5   (0.09)   (†)
Two own children under 18 0.2 (0.02) 0.3 (0.03) 0.5 (0.04) 0.7 (0.04) 0.7 (0.03) 0.8 (0.03) 0.7 (0.03) 0.7 (0.03) 0.8 (0.03) 0.2   (0.06) 0.1 ! (0.05)
Three or more own children
    under 18
0.1 (0.02) 0.1 (0.02) 0.2 (0.02) 0.2 (0.03) 0.3 (0.02) 0.3 (0.02) 0.3 (0.02) 0.3 (0.02) 0.3 (0.02)   (†) 0.1 ! (0.03)
                                                 
Families with female householder,
   no spouse present
10.7 (0.17) 14.6 (0.18) 16.5 (0.20) 17.6 (0.20) 18.4 (0.14) 18.5 (0.14) 18.4 (0.14) 18.8 (0.14) 19.1 (0.14) 1.1   (0.29) 1.5   (0.25)
Without own children under 18 5.1 (0.12) 5.5 (0.12) 6.5 (0.13) 7.1 (0.14) 7.4 (0.10) 7.7 (0.10) 7.7 (0.10) 8.1 (0.10) 8.2 (0.10) 0.6 ! (0.19) 1.1   (0.17)
With own children under 18 5.6 (0.13) 9.1 (0.15) 10.0 (0.16) 10.5 (0.16) 10.9 (0.11) 10.8 (0.11) 10.6 (0.11) 10.7 (0.11) 10.9 (0.11) 0.5 ! (0.23) 0.4 ! (0.20)
One own child under 18 2.0 (0.08) 4.0 (0.10) 4.9 (0.12) 5.2 (0.12) 5.5 (0.08) 5.3 (0.08) 5.3 (0.08) 5.3 (0.08) 5.6 (0.08) 0.4 ! (0.17) 0.3 ! (0.15)
Two own children under 18 1.6 (0.07) 3.1 (0.09) 3.3 (0.10) 3.4 (0.10) 3.5 (0.07) 3.4 (0.07) 3.4 (0.07) 3.4 (0.07) 3.4 (0.07)   (†) #   (†)
Three or more own children
    under 18
2.0 (0.08) 2.1 (0.07) 1.8 (0.07) 1.9 (0.07) 2.0 (0.05) 2.0 (0.05) 1.9 (0.05) 1.9 (0.05) 2.0 (0.05) #   (†)   (†)
†Not applicable.
#Rounds to zero.
!Interpret data with caution. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is between 30 and 50 percent.
‡Reporting standards not met. The coefficient of variation (CV) for this estimate is 50 percent or greater.
NOTE: Own children are never-married sons and daughters, including stepchildren and adopted children, of the householder or married couple. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P20, Household and Family Characteristics: 1995; and America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2000 and 2005–2011, Current Population Survey (CPS), Annual Social and Economic Supplement, retrieved July 31, 2012, from http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam/cps2011.html. (This table was prepared August 2012.)
Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education