(noun) Two parents (traditionally a male and female) and their children living apart from their extended family.
Audio Pronunciation: (nu·cle·ar fam·i·ly)
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- Plural: nuclear families
- The definition of a nuclear family varies, some limit the term to only biological (consanguineal) children of a couple while others include stepchildren and adopted children as in a blended family.
- An individual can be part of more than one nuclear family. For example, an individual can be a child in a family of orientation and a parent in a family of procreation.
- Nuclear families are created in part due to primogeniture, or the tradition of inheritance going to the oldest male in the family.
- A privatized nuclear family (also called isolated nuclear family) coined by Michael Young (1915–2002) and Peter Willmott (1923–2000) in The Symmetrical Family (1973), based on research in England refers to a nuclear family that is separated from any extended family and thus self-reliant.
- A conjugal family is similar to a nuclear family, but a conjugal family does not require children.
- Also called elementary family.
- Nuclear family used in a sentence: The nuclear family fascinates sociologists and as the term provides a rich source for cross-cultural exploration.
- Harris, C. C. 1984. The Family and Industrial Society. London: G. Allen & Unwin.