Changing Family Patterns in England and Wales over the Last Fifty Years

Colin Gibson

in Cross Currents

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198268208
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683442 | DOI:
Changing Family Patterns in England and Wales over the Last Fifty Years

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This chapter examines the major demographic trends and social changes within the family structure of England and Wales between 1950 and 1999. The current population of England and Wales is some fifty-two million. The two countries form some nine-tenths (91 per cent) of the population of the three countries (England, Scotland, and Wales) that constitute Great Britain. Some important official sources of data refer only to Britain (The General Household Survey); it is proper to relate such information to the changing social structure of England and Wales. Changing social mores have helped modify the traditional attitude that the nuclear conjugal family was the expected setting in which to raise children. An increasing proportion of dependent children will experience family settings with one parent present, or within partnerships formed by unmarried couples, or households formed by parent and step-parent families. And, of course, the permutations can be extended.

Keywords: England; Wales; Great Britain; family patterns; social changes; family structure; social structure; nuclear conjugal family; households; families

Chapter.  9824 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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