Where We Live: Recession Redefines The Modern Family

Connecticut Families cope with shifting roles and responsibilities

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Rick Goodjohn
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Heather Green
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Elaine Zimmerman
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Jonathan Cutler
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Where We Live: Recession Re-Defines the Modern Family
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Where We Live: Recession Re-Defines the Modern Family

The American family has been changing for decades and attitudes about what makes up a family have been changing as well.

But, it seems the recession has sped up the process. 

Most of the lost jobs in the last few years were lost by men – that tipped the balance of the workforce toward women for the first time in American history. The change is redefining gender roles and relationships at home in ways not seen since the Great Depression.

Coming up, Where We Live, we’ll talk with the director of the Connecticut Commission on Children which has helped launch initiatives like “Children and the Recession Task Force” and the 2011 Connecticut Fatherhood Initiative to learn the local affects of the recession on families.  And we’ll hear from parents about how they are coping with these shifting roles and responsibilities. 

And, we want to hear from you – has your family undergone a major shift?  Do you have a new caretaker for the children?  A new primary breadwinner? 



Email from Rob

The swing in the labor force has little to do with the expanding role of women in society and much to do with the laws governing employment. I lost my job a little after the start of the recession and went back a couple of months later. I was unsurprised to see that there were nothing but minorities, women, and people over 50 left working. The problem is the proliferation of discrimination laws which make it very difficult to lay off women or minorities. This has led to a disproportionate reduction in the labor force for men in general and white men under 50 in particular.

Email from Sarah

One of the biggest changes I've noticed is that parents are getting older. It's taking young adults much longer to establish themselves and their finances, forcing them to hold off on starting a family until much older than in the past. This causes a major shift in family dynamics, especially as children grow up and face aging and elderly parents when only just beginning adult lives themselves.