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The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political & Social Science

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political & Social Science
Family Complexity, Poverty, and Public Policy

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June 2014 | 276 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Family life in the United States has drastically changed over the past half century. Marriage has become less common, divorce rates have risen, cohabitation has become the new norm, and childbearing outside of marriage is more prevalent than ever—all of which have contributed to the emergence of family complexity. Family complexity, with relationships and roles deviating from the simple nuclear family makeup, has a profound impact not only on the members of a family, namely the children, but also on public policy programs designed to support the wide range of families that now exist.


In this volume of The ANNALS, prominent scholars look at the various dynamics of today’s family complexity, focusing on families with minors. The articles present the context in which family complexity has developed and the factors that have increased its prevalence, provide evidence of how increasing changes in family composition are linked to income and poverty, and analyze the transforming roles and behaviors of parents, grandparents, and children. The authors also address the repercussions of family complexity on social and public policy, highlighting the need to enact effective policies and identifying areas that require further research.

Marcia J. Carlson and Daniel R. Meyer
Family Complexity: Setting the Context
Frank F. Furstenberg
Fifty Years of Family Change: From Consensus to Complexity
Maria Cancian and Ron Haskins
Changes in Family Composition: Implications for Income, Poverty and Public Policy
Wendy D. Manning, Susan L. Brown, and J. Bart Stykes
Family Complexity among Children in the United States
Karen Benjamin Guzzo
New Partners, More Kids: Multiple-Partner Fertility in the United States
Lawrence M. Berger and Sharon H. Bzostek
Young Adults’ Roles as Partners and Parents in the Context of Family Complexity
Rachel E. Dunifon, Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, and Kimberly Kopko
Grandparental Coresidence and Family Well-Being: Implications for Research and Policy
Bryan L. Sykes and Becky Pettit
Mass Incarceration, Family Complexity, and the Reproduction of Childhood Disadvantage
Ariel Kalil, Rebecca Ryan, and Elise Chor
Time Investments in Children across Family Structures
Laura Tach, Kathryn Edin, Hope Harvey, and Brielle Bryan
The Family-Go-Round: Family Complexity and Father Involvement from a Father’s Perspective
Linda M. Burton
Seeking Romance in the Crosshairs of Multiple-Partner Fertility: Ethnographic Insights on Low-income Urban and Rural Mothers
Leonard M. Lopoo and Kerri M. Raissian
U.S. Social Policy and Family Complexity
Andrew J. Cherlin and Judith A. Seltzer
Family Complexity, the Family Safety Net, and Public Policy
Isabel Sawhill
Family Complexity: Is It a Problem, and If So, What Should We Do?
Elizabeth Thomson
Family Complexity in Europe
Daniel R. Meyer and Marcia J. Carlson
Family Complexity: Implications for Policy and Research

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