Empty Nesters Impact on Socialization

April 8, 2009

Some sociologists have noted a correlation or connection between education and family size. Some research suggests that the higher the level of education obtained by a husband and wife, the fewer children they have in their family. Some people in the X generation (people born after 1960) and the millennium generation (those coming to age now) have decided not to have any children at all. These people are called “empty nesters.”

Current sociological theories regarding socialization hold that the family is the key agent of socialization or teaching the rules of society to our young people. Researchers fear that the continual shrinkage of the middle class and lower upper class (what some neo-Marxists call the petty bourgeoisie) might lead to a future society with a different set of values and beliefs.

What do you think? Do you have anything to add to this topic? If so, please pick a talking point below and respond to it:

1. If the middle class and the upper class become smaller, what changes do you think this will cause of the social fabric of American society?

2. What political effects do you think such a demographic shift might have on the country? Are you seeing any of those effects now?

3. What economic effects do you think having a smaller middle and upper class might have on America? Why?

4. Do you think this demographic shift could lead to a form of social evolution that Karl Marx would support? Why?

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