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March 1990

The changing family in international perspective

Constance Sorrentino

Families are becoming smaller and less traditional as fertility rates fall and more persons live alone; Scandinavian countries are pacesetters in developing nontraditional forms of family living, but the United States has the highest incidence of divorce and of single-parent households. As part of the Monthly Labor Review' s 75th anniversary examination of the family, this article develops an international perspective on the changes in the American family by looking at selected demographic, household, and labor force trends in the past 25 to 30 years in Canada, Japan, and the major Western European nations.

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