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What data allows one to tell the extent of divorce on family structure? What I mean is that lots of children live in a two parent family, but it is often a blended family, not the original set of biological parents. I want a count of the number of kids in the following living arrangements: (a) single parent; (b) married couple, with only one biological parent; (c) married couple, with both biological parents; (d) not living with either biological parent.


The quickest answer for you are reports out of the Census Bureau based on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The questionnaire in this study asks the relationship of everyone in a household to each other. This allows one to determine sibship (full, half, step) of the children and to determine the four types of families you describe.

The drawback is that the SIPP does not make a distinction between family break-ups caused by divorce versus widowhood. To get the family-headship distribution based on "divorce-only" you would have use a longitudinal study. Some that would allow you to get at this are the National Survey of Families and Households, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the National Longitudinal Study of Youth. However, it does not seem worth the effort as widowhood is a very minor component to family dynamics.

Below is a link of a report that describes marital events (marriage, divorce, widowhood, remarriage) according to age.

It provides information on the median age of marital events (divorce, widowhood, re-marriage), as well as the proportion experiencing these events by age and marriage duration.

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