Departmental Papers (Sociology)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Remarriage and Stepparenting: Current Research and Theory

Start Page


Last Page



During the past 2 decades, the nuclear family, the predominant family form in the United States, has appeared to be more ephemeral than was once imagined by social scientists. Historians and demographers have shown that this family form was not nearly so common in earlier times as was once thought (Cherlin, 1981; Hareven, 1978). Paradoxically the nuclear family (ironically, now referred to as the traditional family) was more common in 1950 than in 1850 because of high rates of mortality, illness, and economic uncertainty (Uhlenberg, 1974). Large numbers of people never married or never had children, and among those who did, the prospect of living a settled and secure life was much lower than is nostalgically recalled.

Copyright/Permission Statement

The New Extended Family: The Experience of Parents and Children after Remarriage in Remarriage and Stepparenting: Current Research and Theory, Frank F. Furstenberg; Kay Pasley and Marilyn Ihinger-Tallman (Eds.). 1987. Copyright Guilford Press. Reprinted with permission of The Guilford Press.



Date Posted: 19 June 2017