Explaining family change and variation: Challenges for family demographers

Judith A. Seltzer*, Christine A. Bachrach, Suzanne M. Bianchi, Caroline H. Bledsoe, Lynne M. Casper, P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Thomas A. Diprete, V. Joseph Hotz, S. Philip Morgan, Seth G. Sanders, Duncan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Twenty years ago, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) issued a request for proposals that resulted in the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), a unique survey valuable to a wide range of family scholars. This paper describes the efforts of an interdisciplinary group of family demographers to build on the progress enabled by the NSFH and many other theoretical and methodological innovations. Our work, also supported by NICHD, will develop plans for research and data collection to address the central question of what causes family change and variation. We outline the group's initial assessments of orienting frameworks, key aspects of family life to study, and theoretical and methodological challenges for research on family change. Finally, we invite family scholars to follow our progress and to help develop this shared public good.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)908-925
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Children
  • Family theory
  • Fertility
  • Intergenerational relationships
  • Marriage
  • Work and family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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