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Pluralization of Forms of Living (1995)

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The thesis regarding the increased plurality of family models also derives – without specifically emphasizing this fact – from an adult perspective, since it is based on the observation of institutions and households. If one takes children as the basic population set, as is possible using the data from family surveys conducted by the German Youth Institute [Deutsche Jugendinstitut or DJI], then [one sees that] 87.5 percent of all children under eighteen live with both of their biological parents (according to data in Nauck 1992, p. 151, Table 1; compare also Nauck 1991, p. 397 ff.).

The situation is somewhat different in the new federal states. Due to higher numbers of divorces and extramarital births, a larger percentage of children do not grow up with both of their biological parents. Nevertheless, almost 82 percent of children under eighteen in the new federal states also live with their biological parents (according to data in Nauck 1992, p. 151, Table 1; compare also Keiser 1992, p. 163).

In conclusion, it can be seen that the two-parent family continues to be the “normative model” and still has top priority in subjective assessments as well. All other family models assume minor or marginal status, although one should not infer that they are therefore insignificant with regard to family policy. The following chapters of this report will repeatedly emphasize the occasionally very difficult social situation of single parents.

Plurality of Family Models

There have been even greater quantitative shifts in the relationship of the [traditional two-parent] family to other family models (that is, at the “household” level) than between individual family models. The increase in one-person households, childless marriages, extramarital cohabitation without children, etc., means that only about one-third of all households in the Federal Republic of Germany are family households in the sense of the parent-child nuclear family.

[ . . . ]

Source: Familien und Familienpolitik im geeinten Deutschland [Families and Family Policy in United Germany] (5th Report on the Family). Bonn, 1995, pp. 70 ff.

Translation: Allison Brown

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