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Beanpole Families

During the World War II era in the United States, the dominant image of families was of parents and small children often referred to as nuclear families. Since then, scholars have started to embrace an expanded view of families that acknowledges intergenerational relations. As a result, descriptions of families have moved from a single child-rearing unit to a pyramid structure in which multiple nuclear families exist. This shift captured the presence of extended family members and includes relationships between multiple generations that span from early to later life.

In the 1990s, scholars introduced the term beanpole families to describe these changes in family structure. Similar to the pyramid model, a beanpole family configuration emphasizes intergenerational relationships but also incorporates demographic changes in life expectancy and family ...

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