Demographics and the business family

David Lansky
David Lansky

The Pew Research Center recently released its 2014 study of social and demographic trends in the U.S. Some results included:

Family members are living longer.

  • Average life span has increased from 46.3 years (men) and 48.3 years (women) in 1900, to 77.4 years (men) and 82.2 years (women) in 2013.

Family members have different views on what IS family.

  • Nearly four-in-ten survey respondents (39%) say that marriage is obsolete; in 1978 when Time magazine posed this question to registered voters, just 28% agreed.
  • 86% of respondents say a single parent and child constitute a family; 80% say an unmarried couple living together with a child is a family; and 63% say a gay or lesbian couple raising a child is a family.

Families LOOK different.

  • Rates of intermarriage have doubled since 1980.
  • About 50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce.

Good engagement with, and effective implementation of a family’s structures, policies and plans will be enhanced by recognizing the increased diversity that these demographic trends foretell.

Multiple active generations in the same room at the same time, multiple ethnicities and religions, and multiple views of exactly what constitutes “family” will require greater flexibility and tolerance on the part of all generations in a family.