Exploring Society By The Numbers

Families in Social Context: Marriage and Divorce

Chris Carlson, Cornell College

Summary

Students will trace changes in family behavior from 1950 to 1990 and assess their magnitude, considering the pace and timing of these changes. Marital status, number of children and household type will be examined by both race/ethnicity and class. Additional team questions will be introduced that focus on marriage and intimate relationships; fertility and childrearing; divorce; and families and poverty. Students will present answers and supporting data to these questions via class presentations.

Learning Goals

Skill
  • Using software to access and analyze census data
  • Identifying independent and dependent variables
  • Forming testable hypotheses using quantitative data
  • Quantitative writing
  • Learning how to construct, read, and interpret bivariate tables displaying frequencies and percentages
Substance
  • To discuss the topic of division of labor within the households

Context for Use

This activity is used in a Sociology class for undergraduate students. This activity explores topics of marriage and divorce to look at family change over time in the United States.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 96kB Mar24 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 72kB Mar24 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses thirteen customized data sets; eleven made from the 2000 Census, one from the1990 Census and one made from from census trend data combining census information from 1950-2000. It guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!

Assessment

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References and Resources

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