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American Family: Updating a Portrait24:11

This article is more than 10 years old.

The American family. It’s changed, and now it’s changing again.

Norman Rockwell's American Thanksgiving table.
Norman Rockwell's American Thanksgiving table.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and waves of Americans across the country are surging toward family.

Three quarters of Americans say family is the most meaningful part of their life. Eighty-five percent say the family they live in today is as close or closer than the one they grew up in.

But that family – today - may look nothing like the one they grew up in. Family can mean all kinds of things in America now. And marriage? All kinds of change there, too. And kids? Well, we think the kids are fine, but we’re checking.

We look at the changing American family.
-Tom Ashbrook

Belinda Luscombe, senior editor at TIME magazine, where she directs cultural and media coverage. She wrote this week’s TIME cover story on the new study on marriage and families in America: "Who Needs Marriage?"

Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. He directs Pew’s Social & Demographic Trends Project, which published the new nationwide survey on marriage and families in association with TIME.

Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College and director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families. Her most recent book is “Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage.” Her forthcoming book is “A Strange Stirring: Of ‘The Feminine Mystique’ and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.”

This program aired on November 24, 2010.

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