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Sociological Family Tree

This assignment will allow you to make connections between your own family’s patterns of family formation and nationwide trends. You will apply the demographic perspective by evaluating changes in the population. You will also apply the life course perspective by considering family changes over time and in historical context.

First, interview a family member and map out trends in family formation in your family for up to four generations. You can use the family tree handout to organize your observations, or you can use your own format.

As you make the family tree, make note of social trends, such as: # of
children (or remaining childless), marriage, divorce, remarriage, cohabitation, single parenthood, and living alone/remaining single.

Other things to pay attention to: age of marriage and childbearing, educational attainment (intergenerational mobility), women in workforce, social class, interracial families, and gay/lesbian families. You can make this as detailed or simple as you would like.

Next, write an essay that compares and contrasts your family’s patterns to national trends in the U.S., drawing on material from the textbook, lectures, and the in-class Census activity. You may also draw on additional data from the US Census or Pew Research Center.

1. The American family today

Be sure to address the ways in which your family’s history is similar and/or dissimilar compared to national trends.

• 12-point Times New Roman font
• 1-inch margins
• Double-spaced
• 5 pages (include page numbers)
• APA citation format (you must appropriately cite your sources!)
• Submit your assignment on Sakai.
o Please submit .pdf or .docx files for the essay
o Please scan your family tree and upload the image
o Note: we will grade the files that are uploaded on Sakai. It is your
responsibility to submit the work appropriately. Please double-check that your
files are the final versions, are not corrupted, and can be opened.

Possible points Objective Score
20 points Clear visual representation of family tree
20 points Thoroughly summarizes patterns of family formation in own family.
25 points Accurately identifies and discusses similarities and dissimilarities between family patterns and nationwide trends
25 points Draws meaningful connections between family history and assigned readings, lecture, and class activity.
10 points Demonstrates polished writing mechanics: grammar, spelling, sentence construction, and organization.

Appropriately cites sources.

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