Over the past 50 years, family life has seen a large rise in the number of divorces, more cohabitation as opposed to marriage and more blended families. Consequently, the past 50 years have also witnessed a rise in the number of children born out of wedlock.
There are many reasons why the concept and meaning of family have changed so much over the years. To start, life expectancy is much longer. Effective and safe birth control has made it possible for a woman to control how many children she has, and more and more women have entered the work force instead of opting to stay home and take care of the family.
Another reason why families have changed so much is the independence of women, and their desire to build a career before they start a family. Many women have children into their late thirties and early forties. Society has also changed in the area of being more accepting to same-sex couples getting married and raising children.
Because of higher divorce rates, more and more people are raising children on their own, without the support of a spouse. Children find themselves with two separate homes and even two different families. More and more couples decide to not have children by choice and not because of a medical impairment.