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Nuclear Family

A nuclear family is composed of two parents and their children. Common references to the nuclear family often imply two heterosexual, married parents and their biological children. However, this does not adequately capture the increasing diversity of family types that are emerging worldwide. This entry describes contemporary trends in, and general theory about, nuclear families.

Consider the following: Do all family members need to be related by blood? If so, what does this mean for stepfamilies, same-sex families, and families that have adopted a child or used alternative means (e.g., in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination) to conceive? Do all family members need to reside in the same household? If so, what does this mean for children of divorced parents, some of whom maintain two residences? And ...

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