Examine the Reasons for, and the Effects of Changes in Family Size over the Past 100 Years

1127 words 5 pages
Examine the reasons for, and the effects of changes in family size over the past 100 years

There are many reasons for changes in family size over the past 100 years. Family size has been changing in all of the world’s industrial societies.
One of the main reasons of changes in family size is that divorce rates have increased dramatically. This can be seen by figures showing that in 1950, there were 40,000 divorces across England and Wales and in 2005 there 153,399 across the same area. The increase in divorce has led to more reconstituted families, singlehood and single parenthood, therefore the family size has generally decreased apart from in cases where reconstituted families have been formed. This increase in divorce is due
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Roseneil argues that the boundaries between intimate sexual relationships and friendships are becoming blurred. New reproductive technologies have made it easier for single sex couples to become a larger family. It started in 1978, when the first ‘test tube baby’ was born which caused the number of people using IVF (in-vitro fertilisation) to increase and also those using surrogate motherhood. In 1997 John Macnois and Ken Plummer showed how new reproductive technologies can create previously impossible sets of relationships.
Ethnic and cultural diversity has also caused changes in family sizes. This is because different ethnic communities traditionally had different family sizes than other communities. The smallest family size is among black Caribbean’s with and average size of 2.22 and the largest family size is among Bangladeshis with an average size of 6. These figures show that if a different ethnic family moves into a certain area the family size will adapt to their ways, either increasing or decreasing family size. Also, divorce is only common in a small number of ethnic groups, such as white and Caribbean families, therefore decreasing family size among these groups. Families in the West Indies have a structure of the conventional nuclear


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