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The impact of divorce on family size

According to research, one side effect of divorce is larger families. People in Texas and the rest of the country who get divorced and then live with with or marry another person are likely to be a part of a complex family structure that may include half-siblings, stepchildren and various other extended relationships.

The results of a survey conducted by a professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston revealed that nearly one-third of households in the United States that are headed by adults no younger than 55 years old contain at least one stepparent. An analysis of the results also show that out of couples who are over 55 with adult children, 33 percent of them will have at least one stepchild.

The researchers included the step-relationships of unmarried cohabiting and married couples in the analysis of the survey results. When grown children who are also stepchildren are accounted for, the adult children count for Americans increased by nearly two-thirds.

The growth in family size is being fueled by the increase in divorce and remarriage. The divorce rate for older Americans is two times what it was 20 years ago. Nearly 30 percent of people older than 50 years have been married multiple times, based on a study conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University. The survey data also shows that almost 40 percent of older Americans who have children are a part of a stepfamily.

People who are a part of an extended family can be uncertain about their duties to their step-relatives. Many people may feel compelled to choose how they allocate their assets among both biological relatives and step-relatives.

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