Variable: Reproduction (family)

All societies must produce and raise children; the institutional arrangements created to do so vary within and across cultures, as well as through time, and is commonly referred to as family. Family is defined as "a group of people, related by kinship or similar close ties, in which the adults assume responsibility for the care and upbringing of their natural or adopted children" (Jary & Jary, 1995). In North America, the nuclear family, composed of two parents and their offspring, has been a common form of family since industrialization. However, other forms of family exist, including extended (in which two or more generations live and work together); stable arrangements involving reproduction and child-rearing outside of traditional marriage arrangements, blended families (the product of divorce and remarriage), and increasingly single-parent, often fatherless families.

Family can be measured by composition (parent:child ratio) or structure (percent married couples with children under 18 living at home), and saturation (percent households with children under 18 living at home / unit population).

Family composition, structure, and saturation within a given population have strong influences on other social institutions, in particular education and shelter, and influence the transformation and consumption of critical resources within a community, region, or nation.

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