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If the Burnses seem atypical as an American nuclear family, how about the Schulte-Waysers, a merry band of two married dads, six kids and two dogs?

Most unmarried mothers today, demographers say, are in their 20s and early 30s.

As a result, 41 percent of babies are now born out of wedlock, a fourfold increase since 1970.

The trend is not demographically uniform, instead tracking the nation’s widening gap in income and opportunity.

Single people live alone and proudly consider themselves families of one — more generous and civic-minded than so-called “greedy marrieds.” “There are really good studies showing that single people are more likely than married couples to be in touch with friends, neighbors, siblings and parents,” said Bella De Paulo, author of “Singled Out” and a visiting professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “There are not just more types of families and living arrangements than there used to be,” said Stephanie Coontz, author of the coming book “Intimate Revolutions,” and a social historian at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.

“Most people will move through several different types over the course of their lives.” At the same time, the old-fashioned family plan of stably married parents residing with their children remains a source of considerable power in America — but one that is increasingly seen as out of reach to all but the educated elite. “It’s the backbone of how we live,” said David Anderson, 52, an insurance claims adjuster from Chicago.

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