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'Examine the view that the traditional nuclear family is in decline'

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Introduction

'Examine the view that the traditional nuclear family is in decline' When evaluating the view that the traditional nuclear family (of two opposite sex married parents living in a household that contains only them and their own dependant children), is in decline, I will be taking various pieces of research and evidence from Sociologists, Journalists and other sources, into consideration in order to try to determine how true this view is. The nuclear family would appear to be found internationally and would be described as 'universal' by Murdock, varying in popularity from country to country, however I will be concentrating mainly in the UK. The idea that the 'traditional' nuclear family is in decline is not new. Journalists, columnists and sociologists have been researching this theory for many years now and it would seem that most agree with the hypothesis. Most sociologists agree that the nuclear family first became popular in the United Kingdom in the 1950 - 1960's after World War 2, although it existed from approximately the 18th Century. It originally occurred in upper-class families that could afford to live in this way and then eventually filtered down to the middle-classes and finally became popular amongst most classes in the twentieth century. ...read more.

Middle

90% of South Asian families with children had married parents, while when looking at White families; only 75% of parents were married. Caribbean families were even lower at 50%. Macionis & Plummer (2000) backed up this research in their findings that the nuclear family was far more likely to be found in Bangladeshi and Pakistani Communities than others - they argued that although these families may contain more members, this is due to a larger amount of children, not an extended family. Other forms of research have came to the conclusion that Cypriot families are less likely to look for help from outside agencies when in times of need and will be more likely to turn to their kin for this - therefore they have a tendency to have extended family homes. When contemplating the amount of immigration and emigration into and out of the UK, these statistics can become significant as they may prove that in general, those people immigrating into another country could bring with them a less common family type. As years go by more and more emigration to and from the UK is taking place therefore this could result in a more varied, diverse family type. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is estimated that by 2016 the amount of single parent homes will have soared by 20% (2004, Daily Mail). Less common family types are starting to have a more established place n today's society. There is a growing trend of gay/lesbian families, a lot of whom are choosing to adopt children. The rising acceptance of society on this issue allows such family types to prosper, thus reducing the amount of Nuclear families. In conclusion, it would seem that research would suggest that the nuclear family has been a form of living for hundreds of years, and although it may become less popular due to the increase in divorce, rise in reconstituted families and those more infrequent family types such as gay/lesbian headed families, there is no reason for it to become a thing of the past. Individuals will always immigrate and emigrate and as discussed this would cause a more varied family type, although this could well lessen the amount of Nuclear Families in the UK, it could just as easily help to keep it alive. It would seem that it might decline to a point - many couples do still continue to marry and have children whilst living together, despite the fact that this may occur later on in life that in other points in history. ...read more.

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