If you’re using my book for your class, you’ve got all kinds of excellent teaching materials from Norton to use. But if you’re not (yet), or you want more recent posts to choose from, here’s an updated list of blog posts to supplement your course.
This is organized according to my table of contents, but I hope some of you will find it useful even if you’re teaching something else. These aren’t the best posts for each topic, but recent posts and some older favorites. The previous lists are here for 2013, and here for 2014. As always, I appreciate feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
- Why I called it The Family, and what that has to do with Cosby: Explaining the origins of the “family as an institutional arena” frame I used in the book — and how the secrets in real and imaginary families like the Huxtables illustrate the concept.
- Fewer births and divorces, more violence: how the recession affected the American family: How do we put family trends in their social context? A roundup of recent trends in relation to the 2000s economic crisis.
- Deciphering a well-told data story, cars are good for kids edition: A parable of misleading statistical stories inspired by recent claims about marriage, with tips for critical reading.
- This word ‘generation,’ I do not think it means what you think it means: How people talk about “Millennials,” and what a historical cohort means.
- Diversity is the new normal (pdf): A short report I wrote explaining family demographic trends, comparing the 1950s and today.
3. Race, ethnicity, and immigration
- Life expectancy update, disparity edition: Life expectancies are increasing in the United States, but life disparity is much higher for Blacks than for Whites.
- Six grueling demographic indicators of Detroit’s decline (and some pictures): The population dropped 64% since 1950, and shifted from 16% Black to more than 80% Black. The city that remains is a demographic disaster.
- Race and ethnicity divides college students’ dating lives: Animated short on on the relative frequency of within-race/ethnicity dating among college students.
4. Social class
- Policy, politics, and promoting education versus marriage: Instead of blaming poor women for not being married, how about decreasing the number of poor women, by increasing access to higher education?
- Turns out marriage and income inequality go pretty well together: Does the decline of marriage increase economic inequality? Yes and no.
- Telling the boys and girls how to tell the boys from the girls: A high school teacher’s amazing assignment about gender stereotypes teaches students about gender differences.
- Herculean dimorphism: Hercules is bigger than Megala, okay, but why is he so much bigger than her now than he was in 400 AD?
- Pregnancy discrimination and the gender gap, involuntary job choice edition: One example helps illustrate the problem of measuring the gender gap by comparing men and women in the same jobs.
- Misogyny and masculinity, less edited: My commentary on the mass murder at Santa Barbara last year.
- What was I supposed to do, not report the results? What if it’s true that women are more likely to wear red on dates — does that mean our sexual behavior is “hard wired”? I don’t think so.
7. Love and romantic relationships
- Is dating still dead? The death of dating is now 50 years old, and its been eulogized so many times that its feelings are starting to get hurt.
- Online dating: efficiency, inequality, and anxiety: I’m skeptical about efficiency, and concerned about inequality, as more dating moves online. Some of the numbers I use in this post are already dated, but this could be good for a debate about dating rules and preferences.
- Is the price of sex too damn low? To hear some researchers tell it in a recent YouTube video, women in general — and feminism in particular — have ruined not only sex, but society itself. The theory is wrong. Also, they’re insanely sexist.
8. Marriage and cohabitation
- We can’t build our social system around marriage anymore: Marriage has declined in every state every decade since 1980. So what are you going to do about it?
- This “Supporting Health Marriage,” I do not think it means what you think it means: More than a billion dollars taken from the welfare program to promote marriage, and not a single healthy marriage to show it.
- Does gay marriage make straight men hate children? In the steadily losing battle against marriage equality, one of the more pernicious claims is that gay marriage threatens to turn all men against children.
9. Families and children
- Santa’s magic, children’s wisdom, and inequality: Belief in Santa Claus isn’t the most pressing problem facing parents, but it does raise interesting questions about the cultural construction of childhood.
- Home birth is more dangerous. Discuss: The risk of complications and injury is higher. But how high is too high, and who decides?
- US teen birth rates remain high, and they’re not falling for the reasons you’ve heard: Four facts about teen birth rates in the US and globally.
10. Divorce, remarriage, and blended families
- First look: 2013 divorce rates show big drop: A surprising break from recent trends in 2013. What it might mean, and why we need better demographic data on family events.
- The persistence of gender differences, Catholic furor edition: For Catholic conservatives, preventing divorce is part of defending gender difference itself.
- Check that: Most marrying people are remarrying above age 31: As the age at first marriage rises, second and third weddings are taking a larger share of the limelight.
11. Work and families
- Do people working work in working families? What does it mean that politicians increasingly speak of families, rather than people, as working?
- How Can We Jump-Start the Struggle for Gender Equality? In this New York Times essay, I argue for paid family leave, reduced work hours, and public child care.
- What drives the rise of stay at home fathers? How you interpret the trend depends on how you define stay at home fathers. With the “hardcore” definition, stay at home mothers still outnumber stay at home fathers 24-to-1.
12. Family violence and abuse
- Survivor bias and the 92% of Southern Black men who support spanking: With NFL family violence in the news, I asked why so many Americans rationalize spanking by referring to their own childhoods.
- Getting beyond how the ‘Factual Feminist’ is wrong about the prevalence of rape: It’s not perfect, but if you had to pick a number it’s reasonable to estimate that one in five women will be a victim of rape in their lifetime.
- Final proof there is no human tragedy Brad Wilcox will not exploit in order to promote marriage: Did he really just say that women should get married if they don’t want to be raped? (In fact, marriage and rape have both fallen a lot in the last few decades.)
13. The future of the family
- Tripping on tipping points: Minority births are now the majority. Is this a tipping point, a milestone, or a watershed? On the importance of accurately representing trends.
- Dependency futures: An NPR story (linked here) on retirement prompts a look at how US demographic trends may be moving toward a future with more old-age dependency.
- Marriage is declining globally: Can you say that? Yes, you can say that. But will it continue? We should be careful with predictions, but lots of demographic evidence suggests it will.