Nowadays an increasing population tends to live individually on their own or in a small family unit, rather than in large family groups. Why is the case? What effects could this bring, is it a positive or a negative trend?
Over the last 30 years, changing patterns of fertility, mortality, education, and migration have profoundly affected people’s lives. The family, the basic unit of all societies, is adapting itself to new challenges and opportunities and changing its structure and activities to cope with new realities and enhance the quality of life of its members.
In recent decades the formation of single-person households has been increasing among different age groups. Among young adults it seems mainly to be the result of a conscious choice related to the desire for more independence or to educational or occupational reasons. And among older adults, separation or divorce is the major cause of the increase of singlehood. What’s more, among older persons, the increasing sexual difference in life expectancy (longevity) is primarily responsible. Apart from these reasons, due to the increasing prevalence of various forms of unions – single-parent families, consensual unions, LAT-relations, reconstituted families – considerable proportions of children -and in some countries even a majority of children – will experience one or more of those family forms in their life course.
Family-households are becoming smaller in size, but show an increasing diversity and complexity in structure and dynamics. The unlinking of sexuality, marriage and reproduction further progresses, resulting in a deinstitutionalization of relational and reproductive behavior. Many individuals experience more complex family-related life courses with a limited number of successive unions. In addition, the demands made upon intimate relationships become greater and greater.
In conclusion, given the multiplicity and diversity of human needs and drives, it is not surprising that, in response to social development and modernization, smaller size family manifests itself.