This year we were working on the second edition of my book The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change, which will be out in 2018. And my new book, a collection of essays, will also be out for Spring: Enduring Bonds: Inequality, Marriage, Parenting, and Everything Else That Makes Families Great and Terrible, from University of California Press. But I’ve still produced a few blog posts this year, so I can provide an updated list of potential syllabus supplements for this fall.
In addition to the excellent teaching materials to support The Family from Norton, there is also an active Facebook group for sharing ideas and materials (instructors visit here). And then I provide a list of blog posts for family sociology courses (for previous lists, visit the teaching page). So here are some new, and some old, organized by topic. As always, I appreciate your feedback.
- Interview: Independence, uncertainty, defamilialization: I did a radio interview on family trends, and drew on some themes related to modernity and individualization that show up in Chapter 1.
- 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.
- 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.
- Demographic facts your students should know cold: Here are 25 facts we should all be familiar with before getting too far in this course (or in life).
- African American marital status by age, Du Bois replication edition: Updating a figure from the great Black historian, and visualizing family change.
- Two examples of why “Millennials” is wrong: Don’t take this “generation” label for granted. It’s an arbitrary designation, and on closer scrutiny it doesn’t define a coherent group.
- Teaching Black family history in sociology, student resistance edition: Students rebel and a racist teacher is fired. History is hard, and teaching it is hard, too.
3. Race, ethnicity, and immigration
- Why Heritage is wrong on the new Census race/ethnicity question: The Census Bureau has good ideas about improving data collection on race and ethnicity. Will the new regime let them do it?
- Made in America, by immigrants (children): “Children of immigrants” is not such a simple concept. This shows where the mothers and fathers of children of immigrants were born.
- 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.
4. Social class
- New data show change in the class (identity) structure: What’s the trend is social class identification, and how does it relate to actual income?
- US policy fails at reducing child poverty because it aims to fix the poor: An essay I wrote for the Washington Post argues for getting poor people more money instead of getting them to change their family behavior.
- 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?
- My, what dimorphic parents you have! Updating Disney dimorphism to include Moana, with a look at extremely different parents.
- Transgender discrimination is sex discrimination: A brief argument for using the law on sex discrimination to protect transgender rights, in response to the former Obama administration’s education reforms.
- Prince Charles and Princess Diana height situation explained: Following up on an example in the book, what are the true facts, and do they matter?
- Couple fact patterns about sexuality and attitudes: Updating trends on attitudes toward homosexuality; and same sex behavior, identity, and attraction.
- 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?
- Intermarriage rates relative to diversity: How much intermarriage is a lot? This post — with emphasis on data and methods — compares race/ethnic intermarriage rates in states and metro areas to the level of diversity in the population.
- Marriage update: Less divorce, and less sex: Divorce is down across the board, but American married couples are also having sex less often than they used to.
9. Families and children
- The fathers behind teen births (or, statistical memes and motivated blind trust): A combination demography and media literacy post, in which I pick on a popular meme. (I followed up with a meme attempt of my own.)
- International adoption to the US has fallen 75%: Updating the trend, with detail on the countries of origin, and some explanation for what’s going on with China.
- Births to 40-year-olds are less common but a greater share than in 1960: It’s not that women are more likely to have kids at older ages than they used to, it’s that they start at older ages.
10. Divorce, remarriage, and blended families
- The liberalization of divorce attitudes proceeds apace: More and more Americans think divorce is morally acceptable, and should be easier to get.
- How low is too low for divorce?: An update on divorce rates through 2015, and a question we don’t usually ask.
- 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
- Why male and female ‘breadwinners’ aren’t equivalent (in one chart): Pushing back on the tendency to call women who earn $.01 more than their husbands “breadwinners.”
- 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
- Thought leader for a day: Families in uncertain times: I gave an interview on diversity and uncertainty, and — yes — plasticity in family life.
- Get your dependency ratio off my lawn: Old people are doing more work than they used to. A new way of showing how much weight they pull now.
- 2016 U.S. population pyramid, with Baby Boom: The latest age distribution, with data and instructions for making pyramids in Excel.