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Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English volume

Family nucleus

Multilingual Demographic Dictionary, second unified edition, English vol.
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Family nucleus  (FAMILY nucleus)


The family 1 (cf. 112-1) as a unit in demographic studies representing all or part of a household (110-3) needs to be specifically defined, and definitions for different purposes may vary. A statistical family 1 or census family 1 generally consists of all members of a household who are related through blood, adoption or marriage. A household may, or may not include a family. A statistical family cannot comprise more than one household, although a household may include more than one family. In some countries the definition of a statistical family may approximate to the biological family (113-1); in others the definition may be based on the family nucleus 2 consisting of either a married couple without children, a married couple with one or more never-married children or one parent with one or more never-married children. These may either form the census family itself or be the core of such a family. Married couples living with their biological children are called intact or sometimes traditional families 3★. By contrast, a broken family 4★ is one in which one of the parents has been lost by death, divorce, separation or desertion. Families where one parent, separated or widowed, lives with her children may be also be named single parent families 4★. Married couples, widowed or separated people who, at the time of the declaration, have no more children living in the household, may have special name, like in Germany, residual family (“Restfamilie”) 5★. When these types of families are living within a household, they are called family household 6★.

  • 1. In the United States of America, a sub-family is a married couple with or without children, or a parent with one or more never-married children, under 18 years of age, living as members of a household and related to but not including the head of the household and his wife. In Great Britain, the primary family unit consists of parents and their children, the parents' sibs and ancestors.

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