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City, State – Body paragraph goes here... When boomers were kids in the 1950s, 60 percent of U.S. families consisted of two married parents: a breadwinner and a homemaker. Today only 20 percent of American children live in such a family. Instead, couples divorce — or never marry in the first place—and form new households, raising their kids in a tumble of step- and half-siblings. And although the divorce rate has been declining among younger couples, among boomers it has increased 50 percent in the past 20 years—with no slowdown in sight.

“The baby boomers are likely to have the highest lifetime levels of divorce of any generation born in the 20th century,” predicts Andrew Cherlin, professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

But behind that unhappy statistic lies an idealistic impulse. If boomer families are more fluid than others, it's because that generation has heightened expectations of family life, says Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage: A History. Raised during a postwar period of ever-increasing prosperity, boomers saw their families' fortunes improve steadily, and they accepted that as the natural state of affairs — not only for their own financial future, but for life in general.

“We expected things to get better every year,” Coontz says. “We had a willingness to go for more in our family lives and a willingness to leave if things didn't work out.”

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