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|A "typical" British family used to consist of mother, father and two children. But in recent years there have been many changes in family life. For example, since the law made it easier to get a divorce, the number of divorces has increased. That's why 24% of British children live with only one parent, usually their mother. |
The contemporary British child doesn't have a lot of companionship from brothers and sisters, because the average family has only one or two children. Most British children live with their parents at least until they finish school at the age of 17 or 18. Then many go away to college, leaving some parents sad and lonely in their empty nest and others enjoying their release from parental responsibilities
Older people take pride in their independence, enjoy their freedom and don't want to be a burden to their children. The telephone, the car and the airplane keep them in close contact even when they live in different parts of the country.
Members of family — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins-keep in touch, but they see less of each other than they used to. This is because people often move away from home town to work and so the family becomes scattered. Christmas is the traditional season for reunions
The family in Britain is changing. The once typical British family headed by two parents has undergone substantial changes during the twentieth century. In particular there has been a rise in the number of single-person households, which increased from 18 to 29 per cent of all households between 1971 and 2002. By the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be more single people than married people. Fifty years ago this would have been socially unacceptable in Britain.
In the past, people got married and stayed married. Divorce was very difficult, expensive and took a long time. Today, people's views on marriage are changing. Many couples, mostly in their twenties or thirties, live together (cohabit) without getting married. Only about 60% of these couples will eventually get married.
People are generally getting married at a later age now and many women do not want to have children immediately. They prefer to concentrate on their jobs and put off having a baby until late thirties.
The number of single-parent families is increasing. This is mainly due to more marriages ending in divorce, but some women are also choosing to have children as lone parents without being married.
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