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What is a Family?         |        What are the Family Types?


What are the Family Types?

In the past few decades, the world has seen major changes in the face of the family. Since 1975, the divorce rate has doubled resulting in the increase of single-parent households, remarriages and extended families. This is a discussion of the many definitions of “family” and how they demonstrate the changes that are occurring within the family.

There are many places to gather information on family and the different forms that it exists in. One such source is the Canadian Census. Based on information from the Canadian Census, single parents maintained 27.3 percent of the family households with own children under 18. There were 2.1 million father-child and 9.8 million mother-child family. In the mother-child family groups, 42.2 percent of mothers had never been married.

Most of the time when a person thinks of the definition of a family, the image of a mother, father and children is what comes into the mind. That is actually the definition of a nuclear family, which is parents, and one or more children. However, there are more definitions that can be used to define a family such as a single-parent family which is one parent and a child or children. Extended family is when a nuclear family or single-parent family lives with any extended family members.

Family units take a variety of forms, all of which involve individuals living under one roof. The family form or structure does not indicate how healthy the family is or how they function. The family form is merely the physical makeup of the family members in relationship to each other without respect to roles and function. The variety of forms a family may take includes:

Nuclear Family
Single Parent Family
Extended Family
Childless Family


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