Lesbian Families

  • Nancy Mendez

Prior to the early 1800s, love was not considered to be a critical aspect of marriage in the United States. In the American colonies, marriage among White European immigrants was regarded as a social obligation and as an economic necessity (Malone & Cleary, 2002). By the 1920s, the United States experienced a movement toward marriage formed on the basis of love as opposed to an exchange in property. Concurrent with this shift toward marriages premised on love, the United States evolved from a primarily agricultural economy to an industrial economy, with the movement of population from farms and rural communities to large cities in search of industrial jobs. In 1890, only 28% of the population lived in cities, but by 1930 it was 56%. In fact, by 1920, for the first time in US history, more people lived in cities than farms. The urbanization of American society led to the disappearance of the extended family. By 1947 a “nuclear family” became the norm (Hunter, 1991; Lehr, 1999). Today many American “families” consist of parents (a married man and a woman) and children, but for much of our history, family often included grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.


Foster Care Lesbian Woman Lesbian Couple Civil Union Sperm Bank 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Mendez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsCenter for Minority Public Health, Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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