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Examine the reasons for the increase in family and household diversity in the last 40 years.

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Examine the reasons for the increase in family and household diversity in the last 40 years. (24 marks) Over the last 40 years, there has been an extreme increase in family and household diversity. There have been many changes in marriage over the past 40 years. The number of marriages has decreased. In the period of 1981 to 2007 there has been a 34% drop in the number of marriages. Statistics reveal that many people are actually delaying marriage. It is said that most people will marry at some point in their lives, but people are deciding to marry later in life, most likely after a period of cohabitation. A reason for this is probably because couples want to "Test the water" before they make any commitments. Nowadays, there is also much less stigma attached to staying single and some people do not want to commit themselves to something if they are not truly happy or if they prefer to be alone than with another person. Also, many people are getting married later in life. The average age of first marriage has rose by seven years between 1971 and 2005. This may be because they want to postpone marriage in order to spend longer in full-time education and perhaps to establish themselves in a career first. ...read more.


In addition, people were finally able to legally to end all connections, as previously when divorce was either too expensive or difficult to obtain, separation was very common, which was when a couple decided to live away from each other. An acceptable reason for this increasing trend of divorce is that it is no longer associated with stigma and shame. Britain's culture was based upon Christian religion, and Christians believe that marriage is for life ('till death do us part'). However, over years, changes in attitudes and secularisation have emerged, and the view that divorce can lead to greater happiness for the individual is more acceptable. Functionalist sociologists argue that high divorce rates are evidence that marriage is increasingly valued and that people are demanding higher standards from their partners. They believe that couples are no longer prepared to put up with unhappy, empty-shell marriages, as people want emotional and sexual compatibility and equality, as well as companionship. Cohabitation involves an unmarried couple in a relationship living together. While the number of marriages has been falling, the number of couples cohabiting has been increasing. A reason for the increase in cohabitation is that people like to "test the water" before marriage. For example, according to Ernestine Coast (2006), 75% of cohabiting couples say they expect to marry each other. ...read more.


Jean Renvoize in 1985, found that professional women were able to support their children without any involvement from the father. Feminist ideas and greater financial and welfare opportunities for women, may also have encouraged the increase in the number of lone mothers. There has also been an increase in the number of one person households. Nowadays, there is no stigma attached to remaining single. This, therefore, allows people to opportunity to live alone, to better themselves in a career or remain in education for longer. One person households tend to be women in their twenties because they have chosen to remain single or marry later. the increase in separation and divorce has also created more one person households, especially among men under 65, this is becuase children generally live wiht the mother. In conclusion, society's values have been affected by a greater emphasis on lone parent families, same sex families and reconstituted families, as opposed to the traditional values which have had more of a role in the types of family in the past such as nuclear and extended families. There has been an increase in awareness of equality issues too, particularly with the rise of feminism, which have lead to changes in the law such as the legislation to increase ease of divorce for women, which has increased the diversity of families. ...read more.

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