The modern American family

The American family has undergone a major transformation in just a few decades. In these clips, the panel uncovers the why, the how and the cultural changes you can anticipate.

Transcript
Close Disclaimer
The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.
Close Transcript
HOST: 28,858 is the average cost of a wedding in the United States, and that does not include the honeymoon. This is crazy. People spend an insane amount of money. You saw the people up top thought that it was like $800,000. They've got this really disparate.

FEMALE PANELIST: Right, they were guessing even bigger.

HOST: Yeah, it's crazy.

FEMALE PANELIST: I know. It's about the same as a year of tuition at a private university in America right now in order to get married. On one hand, it’s crazy that our sort of obsession with the institution of marriage is really ambivalent, because, on one hand, we don't think marriage is necessary in order to have a good sort of relationship. On the other hand, we care a lot about marriage because we're fighting about who's allowed to get married, and people care a lot about their weddings.

I have this friend who has this theory. She was saying, well, you know, back in old times, it was really traumatic when a bride got married, that she would have sex for the first time in her life. She would move out of her parent's house for the first time in her life. Now we just traumatize these women by forcing them to get calligraphy and forcing them to plan a wedding and forcing them to go through $30,000 worth of stress basically.
HOST: Two hundred and forty five thousand dollars – that’s the estimated total cost of raising a child born in 2013 for middle income parents. I mean it’s pretty costly.

FEMALE PANELIST: I think it affects decisions in a different way for different children. Like the first child you have maybe cost doesn’t come in so much, but if you’re trying to choose whether or not to have a third or a fourth child, that’s going to play a bigger role.

MALE PANELIST: It is very expensive and you don’t have to have kids anymore. It used to be the case for most of the history of marriage that you had to have kids to work on a farm or to help out at the shop. And there is such a value now on the happiness of a marriage and having this hedonic lifestyle.

Things are just great. You get to travel and everything else and kids obviously make that more difficult to do.

FEMALE PANELIST: I think fifty years ago, if you were married and didn’t have kids, people just assumed that something wasn’t working.

HOST: Like physically wasn’t working.

FEMALE PANELIST: In the trousers, yeah.

HOST: In the trousers!

FEMALE PANELIST: Seriously, yeah.

HOST: For the Americans in the audience, that’s the pants.
HOST: 28,858 is the average cost of a wedding in the United States, and that does not include the honeymoon. This is crazy. People spend an insane amount of money. You saw the people up top thought that it was like $800,000. They've got this really disparate.

FEMALE PANELIST: Right, they were guessing even bigger.

HOST: Yeah, it's crazy.

FEMALE PANELIST: I know. It's about the same as a year of tuition at a private university in America right now in order to get married. On one hand, it’s crazy that our sort of obsession with the institution of marriage is really ambivalent, because, on one hand, we don't think marriage is necessary in order to have a good sort of relationship. On the other hand, we care a lot about marriage because we're fighting about who's allowed to get married, and people care a lot about their weddings.

I have this friend who has this theory. She was saying, well, you know, back in old times, it was really traumatic when a bride got married, that she would have sex for the first time in her life. She would move out of her parent's house for the first time in her life. Now we just traumatize these women by forcing them to get calligraphy and forcing them to plan a wedding and forcing them to go through $30,000 worth of stress basically.