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Family Patterns

Many societies have at least two types of  families those with mates of each Sex and children and those with only one parent and children. Each type of family in American society is 'found at all social levels and, by itself, does not indicate a class category. However, in recent years, the one-parent family-usually a female parent-is found much more frequently in the lower class. This is both a cause and a result of lower-class status. It is' a result in the sense that illegitimacy,

divorce, and desertion are more common in lower-class than in middle or uppercases circles. It' is.a cause in the sense that it is very difficult for' a single female parent to care for her children and, at the same time, achieve a middle class occupation income. Women have made many gains in recent years, but increased illegitimacy, desertion, 'and divorce have trapped many women and their children in a cycle poverty which is hard to escape. The one-parent family. is the only. family poverty category which increased between 1959 and 1980 (Statistical Abstract, 1981, Table 748, 'p. 497)

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