Family Formation Processes: Assessing the Need for a New Nationally Representative Household Panel Survey of the United States

Wendy D. Manning, Bowling Green State University

The study of family formation processes in a new panel household survey presents several new opportunities as well as challenges. Earlier panels used to assess American family life anchored questions around marital events, but changes in family require more attention to diverse family forms. Surveys have broadened their focus to include a broader spectrum of relationships that cross household boundaries. Careful measurement attention is important because families are at the heart of numerous decisions, roles, and responsibilities with implications for understanding of the well-being of families, adults and children. The key challenge is to keep to pace with complexity and changes in American family life while at the same time maintaining a parsimonious set of survey questions.

Presented in Session 161: Does Demography Need a New National Household Panel?