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Fixin' Healthcare

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Lifestyle Chronicles - Neighbors, Friends And Family

A study published in the June 2006 issue of American Sociological Review shows that Americans have fewer confidants and those ties are more tightly interconnected and more focused on the strong bonds of the nuclear family than they used to be. That means fewer contacts created through clubs, neighbors and organizations outside the home.

The study found the mean number of people with whom Americans discuss matters important to them dropped from 2.94 people in 1985 to 2.08 people in 2004.

The researchers from Duke University and the University of Arizona found that the number of people who said they had no one with whom to discuss such matters more than doubled, to nearly 25 percent.

Non-whites and people with less education tend to have smaller networks than white Americans and the highly educated.

The percent of people who count at least one person of another race in their close network went from about 9 percent to more than 15 percent.

The percent of people who talk only to family members about important matters increased from 57 percent to about 80 percent. The number of people who depend totally on their spouse has increased from about 5 percent to about 9 percent.

It will take time to understand them but these results are telling us something about lifestyle.

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