American families experience major cultural shift

11/26/2013 | New York Times (tiered subscription model), The

American families are becoming considerably more diverse and complex as people from a wide variety of backgrounds, religions and political affiliations marry one another; close friends become "voluntary kin;" and an increasing amount of single people make no plans to marry or have children. "This churning, this turnover in our intimate partnerships is creating complex families on a scale we've not seen before," says Andrew Cherlin, a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University. "It's a mistake to think this is the endpoint of enormous change. We are still very much in the midst of it."

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