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Census 2000:
Population Shifts
 
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Singles Get Hitched to the Suburbs

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  America's singles are now trading in the restless city for the edgeless city in record numbers. Suburbs now contain more non-family households—largely singles and elderly people living alone—than married couples with children. In 2000, 29 percent of all suburban households were non-families, while 27 percent were married couples with children. Overall, metropolitan suburbs in the 1990s experienced faster growth in every household type than did their central cities.

The single surge was predominant in the Northern suburbs, where growth in non-family and single-parent family households virtually dwarfed married-couple growth. While married-couple families grew a mere 2 to 5 percent overall in these areas, single-parent and non-family households grew at rates exceeding 25 percent. In contrast to the North, across the suburbs of the New Sunbelt and the Melting Pot metros, single-parent and nonfamily households increases were also accompanied by considerable growth in married couple families. Interestingly, of all five household types—ranging from married with children to "other" families with no children—single-parent families were the fastest growing in both the suburbs (41 percent) and the cities (19 percent).
-JK
 
     
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1990-2000 Rates of Growth and 2000 Shares
by Household Type in Central Cities and Suburbs*
*(Suburbs of Metro Areas with Population Over 500,000); Source: US Census Bureau,
Census 2000; Center on Urban & Metropolitan Policy, The Brookings Institution

HOUSEHOLD SHARE (%)
BY TYPE 2000
HOUSEHOLD
TYPE
CENTRAL
CITIES
SUBURBS
Married
No Children
21 29
Married
w/ Children
18 27
Other Family
No Children
10 7
Other Family
w/ Children
12 8
Non-Family 40 29
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l Ministry Ideas l
     
 
Are you a suburban church? If so, consider how your approach may have embraced young couples with children to the exclusion of an emerging single and single-parent population?
 
 
l How might you build upon existing family ministries without excluding either single-parent families and/or unmarried singles without children? Think of ways that you can make both groups feel welcome.
One leader of a church who had a burden for single mothers, proposed a ministry that would help attract this demographic to the church—even though he knew that this group would probably not be able to contribute financially to the church. Does the economic viability of a particular group affect whether you would include them in your church ministry plans?
Single parents may feel displaced in family-centered churches that are largely directed towards "intact" families. On the other hand, perhaps these single parents also feel uncomfortable getting involved in singles ministries because they tend to plan activities that don't include children. Think of ways that your church can include single parents in its ministry plans.
 
     
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l ©  COPYRIGHT 2008 PERCEPT GROUP, INC. l
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