The Huxtables

How Does the Average U.S. Family Compare to the Huxtables?

A recent poll by YouGov shows that the Huxtable family is still America’s favorite TV family, leaving The Simpsons in second place. Broken down by demographic, The Cosby Show‘s lovable family is the favorite of women, Democrats, and 44-64 year olds, whereas Republicans prefer the Cleaver family from Leave It To Beaver. Hearing about the poll inspired FiveThirtyEight‘s DataLab to take a look at how America’s favorite TV family compares to real American families today.

With five children, the Huxtables have an above-average household size of seven, compared to the average American family household size of 3.34 people. Out of 8.7 million African-American family households, only 3.8 million households include a married couple. Even less common is the fact that both heads of the household were professionally employed, Clair as a lawyer and Cliff as a doctor. Only 6.4 percent of physicians and 4.2 percent of lawyers were African-American in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Overall, it looks like the Huxtables were statistically a pretty unusual American family. But portraying the underrepresented black middle class was always a part of The Cosby Show‘s strategy for success. And sweaters.

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