Is the Nuclear Family Disappearing?

Authors Avatar

Is the




By Rosie Winter


The issue I have chosen to investigate is whether the nuclear family is disappearing from our society. I have decided on this topic as I feel the rise in diversity in the family structure is extremely relevant in today’s changing society.

  Post Modernists argue that most people now live in a series of different family structures in the course of their lives. There is greater interest and acceptance in the diversity of the family and more people are getting divorced however, I do not believe that the nuclear family is vanishing.

  My hypothesis is that the nuclear family is still the ideal form.

(104 words)

Context and Concepts:

One major concept that informs my research is that of the nuclear family. The nuclear family is where two generations of family members are living in the same household. The nuclear family consists of two parents and their dependant children. Another key concept is that of diversity. Diversity means variety of family structures in modern society. These concepts are important because some sociologists believe that changes and diversity in the nuclear family structure are leading to the nuclear family disappearing altogether.

Robert and Rhona Rapoport did a    study in 1982. They drew attention to family diversity, fining that only 20% of families in their sample fitted the ‘cereal packet image’ – male breadwinner and a female housewife and their children.

Join now!

  The Rapoports identified five types of family diversity in Britain

  1. Organisational, where there are variations in the family structure, household type and kinship structure.
  2. Cultural, where there are differences in lifestyle of families or different ethnic origins and religious beliefs.
  3. Class, where there are differences between middle and working class families.
  4. Cohort, which refers to the period in history of the family.
  5. Life cycle, where the lifestyle of a family depends very much on what stage in the family life cycle it has reached e.g. ‘newly wed’ couples without children will have a different family life ...

This is a preview of the whole essay