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The Annual Report on Family Trends: 2011, The Behaviors of the American Family in the Five Major Institutions of Society

By Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, Thomas J. Tacoma, Brooke A. Tonne, and Alexander W. Matthews


The Annual Report on Family Trends brings together in one place the trendline data on family issues. In almost all cases, the data is drawn from original federal government data.

Though the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual Statistical Abstract of the United States is a wonderful product, the annual edition does not go back far enough to give the long-term view on most trendlines. Furthermore the federal data system is rather difficult for the layman (and even for the demographic scholar) to navigate. Through this publication, we hope to remedy this situation and make available data that are not easily accessible for most laymen.

The Annual Report is designed to inform the reader about the American family in its current state, including its behaviors in the five major institutions (five major tasks) of society: family, church, school, marketplace, and government. It is in these institutions that the next generation is born and raised; learns and applies transcendent truths; studies and is taught; where goods and services are produced and traded to meet physical needs; and where society applies physical force when necessary for the common good, the general welfare. We have also included trendline data on health. Even though it is not a basic institution (that is, essential to society’s ability to function), it is a major secondary institution, an emerging significant individual, family and social benefit.

This first edition starts with about one third of the full dataset that we will eventually provide. Completing this task will take another two years. Next year (2012), we will provide an expanded set of trendlines, as well as an update on those provided in this first edition. By 2013, we hope to have a complete range of family-related trendlines. Thereafter, we intend to issue an updated Report annually.