Examine reasons for the changes in family size and structure in the last 100 years.
Recent decades have seen some major changes in family patterns. Changes in partnership include fewer first marriages, more divorces, re-marriages, and cohabitation. There are also more births outside of marriage, lone parents, reconstituted families, and same sex families. Reasons for these changes vary from individualism, to secularisation and reduced stigma. 100 years ago, the norm in society was to live in a nuclear family unit; women were married young, had children and stayed home to look after their children, whilst their husband went out to work. So the stereotypical gender roles are ...view middle of the document...
This can cause competition between the marriage and break the marriage down resulting in divorce. And finally, divorce is a lot cheaper now, which finance could’ve been a factor of people not getting divorced and instead being separated.
Similarly, marriage also has a changing pattern. Now, there is less pressure to get married younger and have a family. There is generally less pressure for people to get married at all. Similarly to divorce, there is a decline in stigma attached to cohabitation, remaining single and having children outside of wedlock, whereas years ago it was an abomination to families and society. Cohabitation is increasing whilst marriage is declining. This shows that more couples would rather live together and have a sexual relationship and children without being married, as they see no stigma attached to it. The number of cohabiting couples has doubled since 1986, which shows changing attitudes over the past 30 years. Although cohabitation is increasing and marriage is declining, this does not mean couples choose to lie together instead of getting married. It could indicate couples living together and having children before they get married. Also, marriage could be too expensive for couples.
Reconstituted families would've been extremely rare 100 years ago, as divorce and re-marriage came with a stigma and shame upon families. Now, we live in a more secular society, where not everyone is as strongly religious as people were in the past. Now, people can choose if they want to get re-married and have more children with another partner. Also, children then have a step-parent and step-siblings if one of their parents re-marry and have an even bigger extended family; something which is beginning to increase. Reconstitution can cause problems as some children can feel segregated from the parent that they do not live with and can feel like their step-parent is trying to take over the role of their biological parent.
Same-sex relationships are impossible to judge as being on the increase or decrease, as in the past many same-sex...