7400.362 - Family Life Management
School of Family and Consumer Sciences
Instructor: David D. Witt, Ph.D.
Topic 8 - Managing Human Resources

In 1900, there were 1.5 billion people walking around on the earth.
Today there are over 6.5 billion people walking around on the earth, with over 2 billion of them living in one country - China.
The management of all this humanity has become an entire social science in itself.

Notes on Measurement and Shifts in Population
The study of the characteristics of human population is called Demography, with concepts such as size, growth, distribution, density, migration and so on.

The Mortality Rate is the the number of deaths per year (usually listed by cause).  The Infant Mortality Rate is the number of children who die within the first year of life (divided by the fertility rate). Mortality is influenced by factors such as disease related death, better nutrition and exercise habits, improvements in health care and preventative medicine, and better chances for babies to live past the first year.

The Divorce Rate is the number of divorces each year per 1000 married women.  Migration refers to movement within a population's geographic area - such as growth in the south as a result of movement from the north. Immigration refers to movement into a population's geographic area from a place outside that area - such as the number of non-national citizens coming into the U.S.  The divorce rate was less than 10% at the turn of the century, and slowly rose to 15% by the mid 1940s. After World War II there was a sharp increase in the Marriage rate and a subsequent spike (a short lived anomaly) in the Divorce rate. From the mid-to-late 1960s the divorce rate climbed from 25% in 1970 to 30% in the late 1970s to 52% in the late 1980s.   Divorce has leveled off since - hovering at about 50% for all married couples.

Birth Rates on a global scale
In 61 countries around the world the fertility rate is rapidly decreasing to the point of replacement or below it.
The threat faced by China's burgeoning population forced that government to initiate a 1 child per family policy to begin reducing the population.  Globally while the fertility rate has been effectively lowered, the life span has increased (from 49 years of age in the mid 1970s to about 63 years of age). The Fertility Rate is the number of live births per 1000 women of child-bearing age. The level of Fecundity, on the other hand is the probability that women will bear children (Thus a woman is fertile if she's had children, and fecund if she probably will have children).

The current population in the U.S.A. is abut 271 million as of the 2000 census, up from 265 million in 1990.
Our lifespan is estimated at about 78 years of age for men and 81 years of age for women. The U.S. birthrate has actually been decreasing since about 1964 (with a small increase in the late 1980s).

A population's size is measured by the additive impact of several factors:
    Population = (birthrate)+(infant mortality rate)+(death rate)+(life expectancy)+(in-migration)+(out-migration)

Americans are waiting longer to marry, and then waiting longer to have children. One-third of all children are now born to women over 30, making the trend toward older first time mothers a factor for the first time in our history.

Population Age and Composition
Increases in the birth rate invoke many social problems in need of solutions.  For example, the "Baby Boom". caused by the enormous influx of husbands and boyfriends returning from World War II and wanting to start up normal family lives, created a large "hump" in the age distribution of the population. Beginning as infants and growing into childhood, this large segment of the population drew enormous resources from society.

  • Millions of new babies require services (medical, diapers, formula, clothing, equipment, special food and supplies).
  • These service companies, once created, would have to adapt and change as their "clients" grew and developed.
  • Six years into the Baby Boom, there would be a need for more 1st grade teachers, then more kindergarten teachers, then more sources for child care.
  • Twelve years into the baby boom (1960) teen oriented goods and services would start to appear.
  • 20 years into the boom, colleges and universities would be required to open their doors to increasing numbers of boomers.
  • 30 years into the boom, business and industry would be required to absorb increasing numbers of job seekers.
  • 40 years into the boom  would require more services for middle aged citizens.
  • 60 years into the boom will see increasing reliance on goods and services for the aged. At this time the tax base supporting all the needs of a retired, non-producing population will be at an all time low.
Because minorities are, generally, younger than the dominant portion of the population, the minority birthrate is higher.
This, coupled with higher immigration, results in rapidly growing minority subpopulations. In some areas of the country, persons of Hispanic descent are approaching numbers equal to the size of the Anglo population.  Changing ratios of minority to White families and households necessitates changes in some aspects of society - more variety of culturally desired goods and services, in some cases bi- or tri-lingually articulated goods and services are offered more often.

Characteristics of Households
The number of households is increasing even as the overall birthrate is declining. More single family households and more one person households and nonfamily households add to the growth rate.

Americans are highly mobile - both in terms of geographic mobility, and in terms of socioeconomic mobility. We move around often - as a nation from an agricultural (rural) majority early on in the century we'd moved into the city by the middle of the 1900s - followed by moves outside the city into the suburbs in the 1960s.  A flexible and erratic economy also contributes to mobility - the typical family will move about once every 5-6 years - to a new house or a new city.

These factors all contribute to the Changing Profile of our Society and to changes in the way we do things. As demands are placed on one segment of society, other aspects of our social system swing into action. Internal changes occuring inside the family (divorce, age at marriage, number of children) have impact and so does External change from outside the family.
A society's ability to cope with change and make necessary adjustments is referred to as Adaptability.

Managing Change while we ourselves are changing while living in a changing world is quite a trick. An example of the complexity would be the Traditional Family Life Trajectory where we used to take as normal:

   Dating->Going Steady->Engagement->Marriage->Parenting->Retirement->Widowhood

For a myriad of reasons, including invention (birth control), political upheavals (war), economic conditions (dual paycheck families), the old model has been changed beyond our ability to recognize it:

Because of changing Economic conditions there has been several revolutions taking place - for example, a change from a labor intensive economy to an informational service oriented economy - has led to a workplace dominated by neither gender.
More dual-income/dual-earner families exist now owing increases to the "allowance" of women into the paid work force.

Notes on the Reality of Family Life for Some Folks

    A. The Family System consists of three parts: Courtship - Marriage - Family Life

    B. The Types of Families in American Culture:

  • Nuclear Family - a mom who stays home a dad who provides for the family (Money) kids who go to school and are active all living in a house of their own. Less than 20%
  • Single Parent Families - either unmarried women having and keeping children, unmarried women having children and giving them to other family members to rear, or women working and caring for children after divorce. The fastest growing family form in the United States today (about 21% of the total).
  • Stepfamilies - reconstituted (custodial parent remarries someone with no children). -blended when two custodials remarry -binuclear families - when a divorced couple remarries others (approximately 15%)..
  • Two-Job Families - Everybody works We haven't kept up with family matters nor made arrangements for the children (nearly 45%)

    C. Importance of the Family - The Family is:
    1. responsible for the production and socialization of children
    2. the first line of defense against deviant behavior
    3. the first place that children learn morality and ethics.

    The consequences of effective socialization of children should ideally include:
    • the development of marketable, productive skills
    • the abilities necessary to relate to others in the society in nondestructive ways
    • an orientation consistent with ethical and moral judgments.
    If the family is ineffective in socializing its children, the consequences are serious, for society and for children themselves. Children will be unhappy and society will not be served..

A Casual reading of the text will tell you that race is somewhat of a factor in all this.
Single parent families are the norm among Black Americans, according to the text, and that is where the poverty and crime is.

The truth is -> the cause of poverty for nearly twenty-three percent of our nation's children is divorce, not being of African-American descent. Divorce is the culprit because about half of all court awarded child support goes unpaid by fathers to children.

The pie chart in the text shows 61% reponding that they feel family life is "the most important element in my life." people always respond favorably to questions like this, however, the reality of our lives is a little different. There are other indicators that tell a story that departs from the Ideal.

To decide whether or not American Values support families and children's welfare, look at the evidence.

  • -we lie to children
  • -we speed through school zones
  • -we won't fund adequate child care
  • -our schools are in trouble
  • -SAT's go down every year
  • -fathers don't provide for their children
  • -family violence rates continue to climb
Where do our values reside?
Compare what really happens to what we believe in?

Children in the 1960s compared to the 1990s

    • -poverty rate 11 to 25%
    • -academic achievement continues to decline
    • -suicide rate among teens has tripled from 2.3 per 100,000 to 8 per 100,000
    • -incidence of obesity increased by 15% to 30%
    • -delinquency cases are higher
    • -reported abuse and neglect is higher
    • -Aids and Crack-babies didn't exist in 1960 and now are correlated with promiscuity and drug use of parents.
All this can be traced to:
    • parents abdicating their roles.
    • increase in number of single parent families
    • increase in number of stepfamilies.
Parenting Across the Lifespan

A. Children's Potential Effect on the Couple's Satisfaction with their marriage:

  • 1. Passage of time - monotony, routine, lack luster
  • 2. Children's Changing Demands
    • -increased social schedules
    • -changing needs due to maturation and growth
    • -changing modes of discipline & displays of affection
  • 3. There is an increasing disturbance, or "noise" level in the house as children grow in years.
Two mediating factors related to marital satisfaction:
  • 1. Nature and flexibility of interaction habits (couple)
  • 2. Extent to which the couple have accomplished developmental tasks related to themselves and parenting.
B. Relationship with aging parents

The Midlife Squeeze:

      Young --------------> Midlife <---------- Aging
      Adult Children -----> Couple <------ Parents Children
  • 1. older parents serve as role models to two generations trading some

  • financial support for advice
  • 2. the relationship can be painful and distant if:
    • -there is unresolved resentment and conflict
    • -midlifers have fear of having to be caretakers
  • 3. Instrumental Caregiving - become more of a social concern and less of a personal one.
  • 4. Launching of children - empty nest - situation most difficult for mothers who haven't prepared properly.
III. Post parental years and aging:

According to the age continuum by which many of us live:

-Last Child Born------------- Last Child Leaves --------Retirement
------ by 30----------------------by 48---------------------by 65-------80

                Most of us will have 15 years left after 65!
In 1950 life expectancy was only 65 years - some of the relationship problems people face today may be due to extending the lifespan into stressful, unhealthy years.

Erikson's Epigenetic Principle states the stages of adult development to be:

  1. young adulthood - intimacy vs. isolation - where we fall in love and marry.
  2. middle adulthood - generativity vs. stagnation - where we bear and rear our children
  3. late adulthood - integrity vs. despair - where we look back on our lives with concern that we've done a good job with the resources we've been given.
Middlescence - the Midlife Authenticity Crisis, as termed by Gail Sheehy
In middle to late life, one begins to question the meaning of having lived? We begin a process of self-examination of past-through the present, asking ourselves questions, such as:
  • Are our dreams fulfilled?
  • Do people love us?
  • Have we achieved all we wanted?
  • Did we do right by our children, and are they doing well?
The primary factor in resolving midlife crisis is
the maintenance of positive relationships with friends and family.

Into midlife by 50, successful crisis resolution includes:

  • 1. a high quality of widsom - what works/what doesn't
  • 2. a high level of self-awareness
  • 3. satisfaction with work
  • 4. being a mentor for young people - no kidding!
  • 5. maintaining activity, adaptability, and self-approval
In the popular press, there has been some discussion of this situation in the context of
male menopause. Actually any thoughtful person, regardless of their gender will have these thoughts.
It has nothing to do with biology, however ....

The female climacteric (menopause defined as: the discontinuance of menses - loss of estrogen - Symptoms: hot flashes, dizziness, aches & pains, fatigue, sleeplessness, anxiety, intolerance, lack of concentration), was once thought to be the signal of the end of sexuality. The good news is that while the symptoms can be a real bother, sexuality is a couple thing right to the end (if the couple wants it).

Reasons for decline in interest in sex, for women and men as they get older :

  • 1. illness
  • 2. decline in energy
  • 3. fewer sexual outlets - divorce, death, illness
  • 4. monotony or boredom
Advancing age means a decline in biological responsiveness to sexual stimuli: however given the CAPACITY for human sexuality, no one EVER has sex as often as he or she is CAPABLE.

IV. Adapting to late life

15% of the U.S. population (30 million) is 65 years old - 75% of the pop. will live past age 65.

    A. Disengagement - Letting Go - gracefully accepting mortality - a popular theory in the 1970's "Disengagement Theory" meant moving out of the main stream. Actually people want to stay in the main stream engaged with family, friends, community.

    But getting old in a youth oriented culture is not enjoyable.

    B. Stereotypes of elderly - due to youth culture's influence, there are negative images of old pople who have been defined as outliving their usefulness. Maintaining a high level of self-esteem is difficult with bad jokes, hatred, and intolerance at every turn.

    The keys to happiness in late life:

          1. Financial Security
          2. Good Health
          3. Family and Social Participation
While we can't always do a whole lot about 1 and 2, inclusion in the family and maintaining a friendship network is well within our grasp, and it means a healthier, longer, more enjoyable life.


  • 17% women - 3.5% men by age 65
  • 38% women - 7.5% men by age 75
Women outlive men by 7.5 years. Loss of spouse especially in later life is the most traumatic event after years of a lifestyle - sense of being lost.
Summary of "A Shocking Rise in Working-Poor Families"
by William P. O'Hare - American Demographics June 1996

While most Americans believe that the poor are people who are unemployed, O'Hare finds that there were 5.6 million children living below the poverty line ($15,141) with at least one parent who worked for pay at least 50 weeks in 1994. This number falls within the overall number of children living in poverty in the U.S. (increasing from approximately 15% in 1974 to 24% in 1996).

Accoding to O'Hare, 47% of the increase was accounted for by children in working-poor families. Further, 75% of the increase was among children whose parents had some kind of job.

While the stereotype of the poor may conjure up images of big city minority single parent families, living on public assistance, the reality is that most are white, about half are married couples, and almost half live in the South. They are almost equally distributed among cities, suburbs, and rural areas.

The No. 1 factor in the growth of the working poor is declining job opportunities for non-college graduates.

  • 38% of working-poor parents have not graduated from high school,
  • 35% of working-poor have only a high school degree.
    • Between 1973 and 1993, entry-level wages fell
      • 30 percent for men with a high school degree,
      • 18 percent for women with a h.s. degree.
More information on child welfare and working-poor families is available in the 1996 Kids Count Data Book. For a free copy, call the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland; telephone (410) 223-2949. 

Summary of "What can Minimum Wage Buy?"
by Paula Mergenhagen - January 1996 American Demographics

Most households in America spend more than they earn.

This is distinctive of the nation's poorest. with low-income Americans falling into three groups:

  • the working poor, who spend on used cars and clothing
  • retired households, who spend on health care and personal care
  • and college students, who buy entertainment and education.
All three groups spend as much as half or more of their money on food and rent.
    • The average U.S. household devotes 31 percent of its spending to housing.
      • 14 percent goes to food at and away from home.
    • Households with 1993 incomes below $5,000 devotes 34 percent.

    • Households with incomes of $5,000 to $14,999 spend 36 percent.
      • 17 percent goes to food at and away from home.
Some facts:
  • Most new jobs in the U.S. economy are in the low-pay, less-than-full-time services sector.

  • Little is left from such jobs for disposable, or discretionary, income.
  • At the current rate of $4.25 an hour, a minimum-wage worker who works year-round and full-time earns about $9,000 a year.
  • The average before-tax income for all U.S. households in 1993 was $34,900, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) 1993 Consumer Expenditure Survey.
  • The poverty threshold for a four-person family in 1993 was about $15,000. In 1993, 30 percent of reporting U.S. households told the BLS that their before-tax income fell below this level.
  • A single adult with this income is not considered poverty-stricken, according to guidelines established by the Office of Management and Budget. Neither is a two-person household headed by someone aged 65 or older.
  • But for any other type of household, one full-time minimum-wage job or an equivalent income level does not break out of poverty.
  • 4.8 million households with incomes below $5,000 in 1993 spent an average of $13,300 apiece
  • 10.8 million with incomes of $5,000 to $9,999 spent $13,900
  • average spending was $17,900 for the 10 million households with incomes of $10,000 to $14,999.
According to Mergenhagen,
One reason why spending by the poor outstripstheir income is that many householders in this income bracket are retired and drawing on their savings to meet living expenses, says BLS economist Bill Passero. Low-income households also include college students whose parents cover some of their expenses, as well as self-employed adults who report low net income. Those who receive public assistance in the form of food stamps and subsidized housing also skew the spending figures at the bottom end of the income spectrum. In addition, BLS economists believe that all households underreport their income, which could further contribute to the income-expenditure gap in poor households.

Minimum-wage-level households spend less than better-off households on virtually everything. But they spend a higher-than-average share of total spending on many things because necessity rather than impulse dictates their purchase behavior.

The working poor make do with rented homes, used cars, and secondhand clothing.
The older poor have greater expenses and the working poor are underinsured - leaving them with no choice but wait until health conditions warrant a costly trip to the medical facility.

"Health care gobbles up 6 percent of the average household's out-of-pocket dollars, but those with incomes of $5,000 to $14,999 spend 8 percent. Many low-income households contain older people with high health-care expenses, and these households are less likely to have employer-provided health insurance." And recent changes in the law allow low-income wages to be attached in the event of unpaid medical bills (emphasis mine).

Regarding financial security:

  • 10% for the average household to personal pensions and non-healthinsurance
  • Poor households spend less than 3 percent.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the annual Consumer Expenditure Survey, which covers all categories of spending for U.S. households by age, race, income, education, occupation, household type and size, region, and housing tenure. For more information about data availability, call (202) 606-6900. American Spending is a special report from American Demographics that tracks spending trends between 1986 and 1991 by household income and age of householder; to order, call (800) 828-1133. For a discussion of defining and measuring poverty, see the March 1996 issue of American Demographics. 

Poor Children in U.S. Increase to Six Million
Columbia University Record -- February 3, 1995 -- Vol. 20, No. 15

The number of U.S. children under six living in poverty experienced a staggering increase between 1987 and 1992-- from 5 to 6 million-- reflecting an all-time-high poverty rate of 26 percent for this vulnerable age group, according to a new report by the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia's School of Public Health.

A majority of poor children under six (58 percent) had parents who worked full-time or part-time in 1992.

The report, Young Children in Poverty: A Statistical Update, illuminates a national crisis and focuses on several interrelated factors that affect the lives of children under six living in poverty.

The new analyses reveal demographic patterns that are not consistent with public myths about poor children and their families--and need to be understood during a time of national debate about welfare reform.

For example, as many as 38 percent of poor children under six in 1992 had parents who supported their families with earnings only--and no cash public assistance.

Less than one-third of poor children under six lived with parents who relied exclusively on cash public assistance for their incomes. (In 1992, the poverty line was $9,137 for a family of two, $11,186 for a family of three, and $14,335 for a family of four.)

J. Lawrence Aber, a leading expert in child development and social policy who is director of the Center, cautioned that the large number of poor young children reflects a two-decade trend that is having devastating consequences on young children today whether they are toddlers or teenagers.

The number of poor children under six grew from 3.4 million in 1972 to 6 million in 1992. The significance of these figures for society's social landscape cannot be overstated because the costs of these poverty rates will be paid for over the next two decades.

Poverty gives rise to many types of deprivation, and many of the youngest, poorest children suffer severe consequences concerning their physical and mental health and their psychological development.

Poor young children are not very visible to the rest of us, Aber said. They live in isolated neighborhoods and are rarely noticed until they reach first grade and fail, become adolescents and get in trouble, or reach adulthood and can't find jobs.

The country's lack of attention to them has created a serious situation of growing proportions. These numbers and rates are not just statistics. They represent innocent babies and little children, Aber noted.

The report's 16 graphs and tables were based largely on analyses of the Census Bureau's 1993 March Supplement to the Current Population Survey. Demographers Jiali Li, and Neil G. Bennett analyzed the data and prepared the report.

Just over one-sixth, or 18 percent, of all poor children under six in 1992 lived with unmarried mothers who worked full-time or with married parents at least one of whom held a full-time job. (The federal minimum wage was $4.25 per hour in 1992. If a person were employed full-time year-round and worked 1,750 hours, the income generated would be only $7,438, just 66 percent of the poverty line for a family of three and 52 percent of the poverty line for a family of four. Even the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit would not lift these families out of poverty: 1992 income in a two-child family, for example, with one parent earning the minimum wage, would reach only $9,648, 14 percent below the poverty line for a family of three and 33 percent below the line for a family of four.) 

It doesn't take a feasibility study to conclude that increasing the number of children reared in poverty will necessarily increase the number of people living out on the fringes of American society -
people who will:

  • find alternative means to making a living
  • eventually be at odds with the 'status quo'
  • find the 'status quo' unbearable to the point of deviance
  • have less and less in common with the mainstream culture

We call these people lazy, mean, deviant, criminal, slacker, or one of many other names.