Coontz argues that family life in some aspects is much better today than it was in the 20th century. One of the factors is that today there is no child labor as it was experienced in the 20th century. Children used to work full-time in the mines, sweatshops, and also in the mills. Labor laws today are more effective and people work for fewer hours and fewer days as compared to the 1900s. During this time people were working for 10 hours for six days a week.
This made many parents have very limited time for their families as they spent most of their time working. Today most men have time for their families since the working hours allow sufficient time to spend with family. Child neglect was very common and child mortality was equivalently very high as compared to today. Drugs were freely available to the families and children grew up in families that were addicted to alcohol. Today there are laws that control drugs in family life as compared to 1900.
Today men who desert their families or divorce have to provide for the children’s upkeep unlike in 1900. Even with divorce, the parents have time to spend with their children. Women today are more empowered economically and more educated than in the 20th century. This has however raised the divorce rate since no woman will accept to stay in an abusive marriage. The women have more rights such as they are able to work than be housewives, they can vote, work in high positions among other rights in the society. In the 1950s life was very discriminated especially the black Americans and the Mexican Americans.
Poverty rates are also not as extreme as in the 1950s. The quality of life for the family is far much better since fewer people go hungry and the elderly are better taken off than in 1900. The education system is also more improved with fewer school dropouts and fallen rates of teenage pregnancy. The rate of teenage pregnancy has fallen from 50% in the 1900s to 30% today.