Family diversity Chapter 2 Families 26 Research Peter Wilmott’s study of North London and his idea of three types of extended family. What are the names of these types of family and how are they described? Can you recognise your family in any of these descriptions? AO2 Apply Take it further Think about films and programmes you watch – which of Wilmott’s types of extended family can you recognise? Family diversity Family diversity refers to the different types of family in Britain today. Rhona and Robert Rapoport state that diversity is at the heart of family life. They say we live in a pluralistic society. The different types of family include nuclear, lone-parent, childless reconstituted, extended, beanpole, civil partnership and cohabitation. Not all types of family are equally common. With 12.9 million families, the married or civil partner couple family remains the most common in 2017, with the cohabiting couple family growing the fastest, according to the ONS. Civil partnerships and same- sex families are becoming increasingly common. Reasons for this include legal changes, secularisation, changing social attitudes, the media, the gay rights movement and the ability for homosexual couples to have children through IVF, adoption or surrogacy. Opposite-sex couples are more likely to be married than same-sex couples. The most likely reason for this is because of the relatively recent introduction of civil partnerships and marriages for same-sex couples. There are around 2 million single parents in Britain today. Link to textbook pp 38–39: Different types of family in Britain today pp 42–43: Family diversity pp 44–45: Reasons for family diversity Spec spotlight 2.1 Family diversity and different family forms in the UK Reasons for family diversity There have been many changes in norms and values. Changing patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation have affected family diversity. Other trends such as increasing secularisation have also had an impact. Religion is no longer as important today and does not have the same influence on people. The changing position of women has increased family diversity. There have been legal changes such as the Equal Pay Act as well as women’s careers being more important. Economic factors have contributed. The Equal Pay Act also contributes to women being more economically independent. The welfare system means lone parents do not have to marry for economic reasons. Detailed family types, UK, 2017 (Source: Labour Force Survey, Office for National Statistics) Thousands Family type 2017 With dependent children Without dependent children 2 Total families Married couple family 1 4,944 7,890 12,834 Opposite sex married couple family 4,938 7,862 12,800 Same sex married couple family 6 28 34 Civil partner couple family 3 8 47 55 Cohabiting couple family 1 1,251 2,040 3,291 Opposite sex cohabiting couple family 1,246 1,943 3,190 Same sex cohabiting couple family 4 97 101 Lone parent family 1,781 1,037 2,817 All families 7,983 11,014 18,997 Notes: 1. Married couple and cohabiting couple families include both opposite sex and same sex married couples. 2. Families without dependent children have only non-dependent children or no children in the household. 3. Civil partnerships were introduced in the UK in December 2005. 4. Marriages to same sex couples were introduced in England and Wales in March 2014.