UK now has 35 types of family but traditional households prevail

The traditional 'nuclear' family.
The traditional 'nuclear' family.
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THE number of “nuclear” families is continuing to fall, with less than two thirds of British households now consisting of married couples living with their own children, according to a new survey.

Only 61 per cent of families live in traditional households, a figure which is down from 77.6 per cent in the previous generation and 89.3 per cent in the one before that.

The survey, conducted by the parenting website Netmums, found there are now 35 different family types in Britain, an increase of a quarter from a generation ago.

These include 20.5 per cent of homes with an unmarried couple living together, and just under 1 per cent of families headed by gay, bi-sexual or transgender parents.

The figures are in dramatic contrast to the picture of family life two generations ago, when just 1.5 per cent of homes consisted of unmarried parents living together and one in 1,275 was headed by gay or bisexual parents.

The proportion of mixed race families today has doubled to 5 per cent.

But despite their decline, the nuclear family remains the most common, the study of 2,600 parents showed, with four in five UK children still living with their natural parents.

Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard said: “The number of family set-ups in the UK is amazing and it looks likely it will continue to rise as people become more accepting of different ways of parenting.

“Many people may be surprised the nuclear family is still the bedrock of family life, but what’s clear is it isn’t necessarily the type of family you grow up in that matters, but whether you have the love, support, warmth and security of people who love you in that family.”

The figures reinforce research from last year by Scottish Widows think tank, the Centre for the Modern Family, which showed that 16 per cent of people considered themselves part of a traditional family.

Parenting expert Liz Fraser, said that despite these figures, there was still a “deep-rooted” attachment to the idea of a traditional family.