UK0,M<$b@mevgɦmJ8s =-bU#b5')byiDz)%2.&_NKpGtJ|QGdr:>Fj0rA ؞F&!| 4`,mz3[
Study notes

Families: Family and Household Defined

  • Levels: AS, A Level
  • Exam boards: AQA

What do we mean by the terms family and household?

What is family?

There is not one clear single definition of “family”. It tends to be used either in a broad sense (all the descendants of a common ancestor, as in a “family tree”) or in a narrower sense, of parents living together with their children as a “unit”.

As a useful sociological concept, we tend to use the narrower definition, only bringing in wider family such as cousins and grandparents when they live together or are involved in everyday family life (such as childcare).

However, while definitions often refer to relations “by blood” or marriage (kinship), in practice families require none of these things. A single parent with adopted children is clearly a family, as is an unmarried couple with adopted children. What about couples without children? If they are a family, and therefore families do not require multiple generations, then is a household comprising of unrelated friends a family? If not, what stops it from being one?

What is a household?

A household is more easily explained: a group of people who live together, regardless of whether there are any kinship ties. Most of these are families, but (depending on your definition of family) many are not: flatmates (such as students), people living on their own, multiple-occupancy homes for migrant workers, etc.

Subscribe to email updates from tutor2u Sociology

Join 1000s of fellow Sociology teachers and students all getting the tutor2u Sociology team's latest resources and support delivered fresh in their inbox every morning.

You can also follow @tutor2uSoc on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or join our popular Facebook Groups.

Job board

Teacher of Criminology (Part time Sept – Jan/Full time from Jan 2021)

Itchen Sixth Form College, Southampton, Hampshire


Related Collections

Teaching Vacancies


Advertise your vacancies with tutor2u

Much cheaper & more effective than TES or the Guardian. Reach the audience you really want to apply for your teaching vacancy by posting directly to our website and related social media audiences.

Find our more ›

Advertise your teaching jobs with tutor2u