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Word Count: 1,070
The Family Breakdown The disintegration of the family has always preceded the decline of a culture America and American families are in trouble In the history of our nation there has not been a single generation raised with the societal conditions that we have Our nation is faced with a severe problem Our social fabric seems to be coming apart at the seams Each day we are confronted by reports of violence teen suicides drug abuse spousal abuse and child abuse Family life is breaking down in America The cultural acceptance of the family breakdown is undermining the foundations of strong communities and civil society With a clear link established between the breakdown of the family and the major problems plaguing our society the ramifications for society with a continuing demise of the family are considerable Common practices such as out of wedlock births abortion and divorce are weakening the family and therefore the community and the nation According to the recent study The American Family by Patrick Fagan the out of wedlock birth rate is at a historic high In 1997 32 percent of all children were born out of wedlock A total of 20 million children now live with single parents and of these 12 million live in the poorest families The out of wedlock birth rate has climbed steadily since the 1950s The rise is propelled by factors such as a decline in the birth rate among married women Married women want to space or limit births in hope of better lives for themselves education and prosperity for their children and security for their families The average family size is currently just under 3 children Another key factor is the birth rate for unmarried women has increased more than six times between 1940 and 1990 from 71 births per 1000 unmarried women to 438 births This was due in part to a change in the overall size of the population
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