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Types of Families

An American Extended Family

A family is a group of people that have a common ancestor. They usually live together in the same house. Although it is a fact that not all families are the same, they can be categorized into different types.


A nuclear family consists of parents and their children living together. In many countries in Europe and North American this is the most common form of family. There are three types of nuclear families. In the first type the father works and the mother cares for the children. In the second type, the mother works and the father says at home with the children. In the third type of family, both parents work. This last type of family is the most common in the USA and Canada.


In an extended family, different family members such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins live together. In many areas of the world, such as Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and Southern Europe, this type of family is common.


Recently in some countries, couples are choosing to have only one child. These types of families are called single child families. Some people believe that children raised in these kinds of families are spoilt, selfish and lonely. But research doesn’t support this.


Some families have no children at all. The couples that make up these families sometimes make the choice not to have children because they want to have more free time. Some couples choose not to have children for financial reasons.


Families with only one parent are called single parent families. There are several causes of these types of families. The first reason is divorce. Another reason is that the one of the parent dies, leaving the surviving parent widowed. Additionally, some parents never get married in the first place.


When the husband or wife in a marriage brings children with them from a past marriage, this is called a blended or reconstituted family. This type of family has become more common due to the increase in divorces. For some children this kind of family can be good because there are two parents, instead of just one. But there can also be some difficulties as the two new families try to become one.


As the basis of all societies, families of all types are very important. This is true now and will be true in the future as well.


Answer the questions

Match each description of a family on the left with a type of family on the right.

Two years ago Darrel and Tanya got married. Before they got married Darrel had three sons and Tanya had a daughter. Now they all live together.

Hiroshi's wife died several years ago of cancer. He now raises his two sons Tomo and Taiki by himself.

Jose and Maria live with their 3 children. They also live with their parents, an uncle and an aunt.

Husband and wife Dalee and Meegung have been married for two years. They are both very successful business people and don't have any children

Harry and his wife Jane have been married for six years. They have one daughter named Melissa.

Jack and Betty, who have been married for over 15 years, have two children named Daniel and Chirstine.