The concept of the family is changing, research suggests

Family|December 4th 2014

The concept of the family is changing and is no longer limited to blood relatives, a recent poll suggests.

Media agency OMD and publishing firm Time Inc conducted an in-depth research project called The Future of Families. This involved 4,000 people across Britain.

Two out of every three said they believed modern families no longer fit traditional moulds. Close to 20 per cent said their family group included their friends and more than a third said it should include in-laws. Meanwhile, 29 per cent believe their pets are a part of the family.

Half of the respondents said they doubted there would be any typical family structures at all in the future.

A significant majority – 77 per cent – said they anticipated children living with their parents for longer in the future as more young adults struggled to find work and a place in the housing market. However the report paints a relatively positive picture of such extended family life: close to 20 per cent of such families said grown-up children and parents never argued, while 41 per cent said such arguments took place less than once a month. They also said grown-up children appreciated family life.

Meanwhile, more than a third (36 per cent) said they had helped their parents to make major decisions in life.

Rian Shah of OMD said:

“We need to stop ourselves thinking about the family solely in terms of the traditional 2.4 unit. The Future of Families research proves that reality has moved on and will continue to evolve.”

Photo by Simon Webster via Flickr

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  1. Andrew says:

    The bit about pets is like the thirteenth stroke of the clock – it is not only not believed in itself, it casts doubt on all that went before. The late Auberon Waugh remarked about political canvassing that you always found people who thought Lloyd George was still the Prime Minister.

    The problem is that the word “family” has always had many meanings. Ask Jo(e) Bloggs in the street who should inherit from a person who does not make a will and the answer will be “the family”. Probe a bit deeper and you will find that if, for example, the deceased was widowed without children family will mean siblings and their issue, not the late spouse’s parents or siblings – but in ordinary social terms the deceased may have regarded those people as part of his or her family, joined them at Christmas, been on good terms with them, and the like.

    I don’t think you can make much of this “research”.

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