Tuesday, December 06, 2011

What is "a family"?

Stock image of 'traditional family'
It seems like a simple question, but it doesn't necessarily have a simple answer. Research by a new "think tank" (why do I hate that expression?) tells us that:
"The traditional 2.4 British family is a thing of the past, with eight out of 10 people now describing their family set-up as not traditional, or not conforming to the stereotypical two married parents with two or more children. The majority of people feel their family is unrepresented by politicians, the media and advertising with 52 per cent claiming the Government does not take their family set-up into account."
The above is the first paragraph of a press release from the Centre for the Modern Family, which "aims to improve the understanding of the challenges facing British families, by providing insight and perspectives for Government, businesses, media, communities and faith groups to help improve family lives". The press release tells us that the research and further information on the panel of experts that analysed it can be found on the Centre's website, but at the time of writing this, clicking that link merely tells us that the website is 'coming soon', so I've not seen the research, which was apparently based upon "a nationally representative survey of 3,000 adults aged 16 and over living in Great Britain".

The press release goes on to tell us however that the research:
"...reveals that just 16 per cent of people define themselves as part of a 'traditional' family of two married parents living together with two or more children.  Instead, the findings indicate family structures are becoming increasingly diverse.  A quarter of all couples are childless, and one in five lives alone.
   
As a result of this, half of the population believe society is out of date in its view of the family.  In addition to married mums and dads with two or more children, Britons are increasingly likely to describe single-parent, same-sex, or unmarried couples as 'proper' families."
There was, however, a significant minority of those canvassed who disagreed with these views:
"A third, 34 per cent, thinks that a couple should be married to be a family.  Just under a third, 29 per cent, believe that same sex couples are not a proper family, and almost one in five, 17 per cent, feel that single parents are not a proper family."
Such feelings have unsurprisingly been echoed by the Daily Mail, which dismisses the research as the work of a "trendy thinktank" that is trying to kill off the 'traditional' family.

8 comments:

  1. definitely includes a dog and a beach tho.

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  2. Absolutely! (The little kid is the .4 of a child.)

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  3. And includes a talking goldfish and alien if American Dad is anything to go by!

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  4. Sorry Michael, you lost me there. (I lead a very sheltered life.)

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  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dad!

    :-)

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  6. Thank you, Michael. I think.

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  7. right with you michael - the only thing on tv better imho than american dad is family guy. cos they are soooo not-dysfunctional.
    and they have a dog.

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  8. 'trendy'! Was this an article from 1964?

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