Lots of hubbub today over this new finding:

…married couples with children now occupy fewer than one in every four households—a share that has been slashed in half since 1960 and is the lowest recorded by the census.

Leaving aside the cultural significance of the trend, I think it has interesting implications for urban form. As cities increase their density—and expand residential options in urban areas—you frequently hear criticsmoaning and carping that all the new condos and townhouses aren’t good choices for nuclear families. But so what?

Family size is declining. People are putting off marriage until later in life, and putting off kids too. (Even more so in the Northwest than elsewhere in North America.) It seems exactly right that many new housing options would be designed to accomodate these demographic trends. The picket fence way of life—large tracts of single-family houses with big yards—is simply becoming less and less relevant to the way that most people actually live.