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

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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