THE ANNUAL REPORT ON FAMILY TRENDS: 2011By Pat Fagan Senior Policy Analyst
The Annual Report on Family Trends brings together in one place the trendline data on family issues. The data is drawn from original federal government data (in almost all cases). The purpose of the report is to make data that is often inaccessible to the layman, available and easily navigable.
The Annual Report is designed to inform the reader about the American family in its current state, particularly its behaviors in the five major institutions (five major tasks) of society: family, church, school, marketplace, and government. We have also included data on health, which, though not a basic institution (essential to society's ability to function), is a major secondary institution and a significant individual, family, and social benefit.
The data can be divided into two broad categories. Within the Report, the positive data consist of conceptions, births, adoptions, and marriages. From these basic goods all other goods flow. The negative data consist of abortions, separations of parents, divorces, deaths, violence, abuse, thefts, and addictions.
The Report is divided into nine sections, each devoted to a different set of demographic data:
Section one looks at population data when viewed through different lenses (age, sex, and race/ethnicity).
Section two tracks different categories of births, birth rates and fertility rates. It also examines issues that affect these rates: sexual activity, conception, contraception, and fertility rates.
Section three deals with abortion in its different dimensions.
Section four tracks the different arrangements of the family in its intactness (marriage and adoption) and its fractured-ness or rearrangements (divorce, single-parent families, and other living arrangements).
Sections five, six, seven, and eight look at the other basic institutions of religion, education, marketplace and government.
Section nine , the last section, looks at health and mental health trendlines.
This first edition starts with about one third of the full dataset that the Report will eventually contain. Over the next two years, the dataset will be expanded and updated, until we have a complete range of family-related trendlines. Thereafter they will be updated annually.