Ford School doctoral candidate Christina Cross published in Population Studies

January 18, 2019

In her study published in Population Studies, a journal of demography, Christina Cross a doctoral candidate at the Ford School of Public Policy and UM’s Sociology Department, expounds upon the trends and consequences associated with the effects of extended family households on child development. With 12 million children in the United States living in an extended family household, Cross asserts that it is crucial to understand how these “living arrangements…[affect] psychological, behavioral and educational outcomes.”

In households in which “a child is living with any relative beyond the child’s parent or sibling,” Cross identifies substantial demographic trends that characterize extended family households. In her studies Cross points to socioeconomic status, as well as race and ethnicity, as the primary drivers. For instance, Cross’ research demonstrates that “47 percent of children whose parents did not finish high school spend time in an extended family.” Moreover, Cross’ research reveals a distinct racial disparity in which black and Hispanic children are more likely to spend time in an extended family household.

Cross notes that her research is crucial to understanding child development in the United States, especially in poor communities of color. “Nuclear family households have long been considered the standard and normative household in the U.S.,” Cross explained to Tech Explorist, which ran a story on the reserach findings. Such a focus, Cross argues, “overlooks the diverse ways in which families, particularly those from minority and/or low-income backgrounds.”

Click here to read Cross’ full article entitled “Extended family households among children in the United States: Differences by race/ethnicity and socio-economic status” published in Population Studies. Read Tech Explorist article on the study here and Michigan News Service announcement here