• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent to sociologists agree that the married couple family is no longer the typical family?

Extracts from this document...


H/W 20.01.2008 To what extent to sociologists agree that the married couple family is no longer the typical family? Facts tell us that there is a huge increase in family diversity since the 1950s. Since 1971 there has been a huge decrease of married couples with dependant children from 35% of all households in Britain to 23% in 2002. There has also been a corresponding increase in single person households from 6% in 1971 to 10% in 2002. The married couple family is undoubtedly also under threat now with around 40% of marriages ending in divorce. This has increased steadily throughout the 20th century although the rate appeared to stabilise during the 1990s. It is strongly argued by some sociologists that marriage is becoming much less popular. ...read more.


However, others argue that these couples that are marrying late are still reproducing because of the breakthrough medical science allowing women to have children at a later age. This also could be because of the vast increase in the amount of women in the workplace resulting in women becoming more career-minded and also out of financial necessity and are therefore waiting until a certain advanced point in their career before settling down to get married and have children. The increase in family diversity is also believed to be because of the rise in the lone-parenthood. This increased in lone-parenthood could be as a result of the acceptance that pregnancies do not have to be legitimised by marriage. This is backed up by the fact that 8% of all children were born outside of marriage in 1970 which rose to 41% in 2004. ...read more.


Trial marriages mean there are fewer marriages because people may realise while cohabiting that they are not right for each other and therefore decide not to marry but they may have had children which is another factor towards the increase in lone-parenthood. Trial marriages also mean there are less divorces because people know that they can definitely stay together in marriage if they decide to marry. However, some of these couples may decide that marriage is too expensive and decide to just cohabit. Although most arguments for greater diversity suggest that there have been a vast amount of changes in the structure of families in Britain, the census in 2001 says that of all families with children in the UK 70% were married couple families. This is conclusive that the married couple family is still the typical family in Britain today. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Assess the argument that decline in marriage and the increase in both cohabitation and ...

    This behaviour is a "social problem" in terms of its cost to the Government and so forth. What concerns us here is the relationship between illegitimacy, family breakdown and wider "social problems". In this respect, the main questions we have to ask are, Are "high rates of illegitimacy" indicative of family breakdown?

  2. Discuss the major changes to have taken place in family life in Britain since ...

    and therefore pre-industrialised families were in actual fact closer to the nuclear family than originally expected. The arguments of sociologist Talcott Parsons are important when understanding the changes of the family since the 1950's. His main view was that the functions that the modern family or the nuclear family fulfilled were best suited to industrial societies.

  1. To what extent do sociologists argue that the family is beneficial to society?

    He sees the family as trimmed down in modern society, but at the same time realises that the family in industrial society is still as important as it was before, as it has not lost its two main functions. The functionalist views have been criticised by some for concentrating too much on the positive side of the family.

  2. Poverty no longer exists in Britain today

    It is also about being excluded from taking part in activities which are widely undertaken by the rest of society. In terms of resources, relative poverty is a higher standard of living than absolute poverty but it could be argued that many things that are not strictly essential for life nevertheless could be deemed as necessities by society in general.

  1. Changes in Family Roles

    Me: Oh, you were lucky! So you say women did not get jobs back then, how did you and your female friends feel about this? Respondent: We were used to this system, we grew up in it and so no it did not bother us at all.

  2. What Do Sociologists Mean By the 'Darker Side of Family Life'?

    During the tension-building phase, minor battering may occur along with verbal abuse. This phase, also known as 'walking on egg shells', women anticipate that violence is going to happen, and they try placating the barterer or may even escalate the situation to get the battering over and done with.

  1. The Family

    Murdock concludes his study stating "No society has succeeded in finding an adequate substitute for the Nuclear family, to which it might transfer these functions. It is highly doubtful whether any society will ever succeed in such an attempt." Fellow functionalist Talcott Parsons (functions of the Family)

  2. Sociology – The Family.

    in relation to the maintenance of order in the social system as a whole?" (Watt, 1993a). Functionalists see the nuclear family as a component in society. The nuclear family is seen to work in this way as children learn from their parent's ways to behave, values and culture (primary socialisation).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work