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Understanding the Family Structure: a Reflection of The Social Changes

Understanding the Family Structure: a Reflection of The Social Changes

The family structure depends largely on the social and economic changes of a personal relationship. However, have you ever wondered how such social and the economic transformations like demographic changes and the urbanization, the education and the income of the family as a whole can influence the family structure? There is no denying the fact that most of the social changes in the family structure happened due to three important setting changes. Namely,

  1. The ever-increasing trend of living outside the family household,
  2. The enhancing trend of children education in institutions that are non-familial and of course,
  3. The distance of the workplace from home, which is often pretty far from the familial home.

Here is a short study on how social change has taken a toll on the family structure in the present age.

Social Change in Declination of the Conventional and Traditional Family Life

There is an increasing trend of single parenthood, same-sex families, cohabitations and childless couple’s homes who chose to voluntarily remain childless.

Different Types of Family Structures

There are different types of family structures that are found in society no matter which country you belong to. An ideal family is often taken as a perfect homogenous unit with members that are bonded with each other through interpersonal relationships. Since earlier times, the pairing of two people into formal marital relationships to create a unit called family was often strategic. However, with the passage of time, creating a family structure has become not only strategic but also economically viable and also to some extent politically obligated.

Family Structure Types

Single parenthood

One of the most recent trends is the changing nature of the family as a unit. There is a rise in single parenthood families. While earlier, there were single parents because of the death of a spouse, nowadays; people often choose to remain single for life. The new societal norm in most of the countries is to have a nuclear family that supports the single parenthood with adopted children or children born through surrogacy.

When it comes to women, more number of women are now choosing the single parenthood as a new social change in the family. This is because most women are now highly educated and are strong economically as well. They do not need the support of a husband to survive or start a family. Hence they are happily single while bringing up their children.

Live-in relationship

These days, a lot of men and women choose to opt for live-in relationships. It simply means an intimate relationship where there are no boundaries of cultural, religious or legal sanctions. It can definitely be termed as an alternative to marriage. However, a live-in relationship certainly does not cause any hindrance to start a family. It is in fact the new way of life to cohabit with a partner before walking down the aisle. This is a great way to know a person well before starting a family together.

Same-sex marriage

While homosexuality has been in existence for thousands of years, it is only in recent times that various countries have given their legal nod to same-sex marriage. However, same-sex couples only account for a minimum percentage of the entire world population. Nonetheless, they are still family when it comes to the definition of family structure types.

Voluntary childless couples

There are many such couples who are perfectly fertile yet do not intend to have children of their own. While the society still snide at the family that chooses to remain childless, as raising a child is considered as one of the most important activities of a family. However, one must not forget that choosing to raise a child despite having difficulties in terms of economic freedom might actually be more selfish. It can lead to several long-term problems for both the children and society at large because of poor parenting risks like economic struggling and other similar risk factors.

Alternate family structure

When a family structure changes due to unavoidable reasons like death of a partner or infertility or even migration of one partner to a different location, it can be termed as an alternate family structure pattern. In such circumstances, some of the family members are forced to make changes to their family structures to suit their working conditions and their socio-economic circumstances.

Minds of Today’s Youth When It Comes to Marriage and Family

In the present-day society, most of the younger generation people do not intend to stick to the conventional family values and hence choose to opt for the no holds barred live-in relationships. This also influences their socio-economic status as both the men and women are working and have economic freedom.

Marital adjustments

According to some previous studies on family structure, it is seen that when both the husband and the wife of the family are working couples, the husband is comfortable in the provider role while the wife is more suitable in the housekeeping role. While the husbands give greater importance to the satisfaction of having a large family, the wives choose to remain satisfied and happy with a small family and a suitable income that can provide satisfactory value to all the members of the family.

Effect of family structure on the development of children

While in a traditional joint family, the children get to interact with several family members and hence their upbringing is different from that of a child belonging to a nuclear family. However, in nuclear families, the children share a very strong bonding with their parents, as there is no one else to look up to. These children usually develop independence at an early age and can take up additional responsibilities.


With the ever-changing social changes in terms of the family structures, the parents play the ultimate role. Having a strong family unit can promote great development in children and also enrich the family as a whole. So, make sure you play your parental role with responsibility to raise socially aware children.