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Census shows Texas family makeup has changed

A new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau statistics reveals that the scope of Texas families has changed. Texas family law courts, which have dealt with divorce, alimony and child custody issues for married and heterosexual parents, are seeing a greater number of families defined by non-traditional relationships.

The majority of children living in Texas, more than 60 percent, are raised in households with opposite-sex married couples. Within that statistic are children being raised by a biological mom and dad, with a stepparent or married relatives, including grandparents.

Sociologists say the change is an expansion of the traditionally defined family and mirrors new, evolving attitudes within society.

The research director of the Council on Contemporary Families believes that the long-established patterns of marriage and family are not disappearing as much as new family styles are emerging. She states that people living alternate family lifestyles are more willing to go public with that information.

Statistical differences in family style, she believes, are also the result of life changes among individuals. The same person may experience several shifts in family status by moving from cohabitation into traditional marriage and later to divorce or single parenthood.

The percentage of opposite-sex, married couples in traditional Texas families was above 66 percent in 2000. By 2010, the number had dropped more than 5 percentage points. New family information indicates that nearly 20 percent of children are being raised by single mothers. Single dads make up about 5.5 percent of all families and grandparent-led households makes up 9.5 percent.

According to the latest census, more than 66,000 Texas households are populated by same-sex partners, reflecting under 1 percent of all families in the state.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Census figures show changing face of Texas families," Jeannie Kever, Aug. 11, 2011

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