Two demographic graphs worth thinking about: the rise of the single household

by Ryan Streeter on September 4, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

Our public policy debates about entitlement programs and tax policy often give short shrift to how dramatically our demographic picture is changing in America.

The following two graphs from Business Insider tell quite a story:

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The drop in married couples with children in a generation is a staggering departure from the historical norm. That married couples without children has stayed fairly constant was surprising to me. The offset to couples with children is the growth in single households.

This graph shows the single household phenomenon in stark relief:

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In 1970, there twice as many households with 4 or 5 people in them than single households. That was the era in which Great Society programs were coming online. Today, things look a lot different on the household front while those programs keep motoring on…