Murdoch adds that a family stays in a common household, shares economic interdependency, and is involved in sexual and reproductive relations (Lamanna & Riedmann 4).
Today however, a lot of societal changes have occurred that the definition of a family has likewise evolved (Lamanna & Riedmann 5). Family members do not have to be bound by legal marriage, consanguinity, or adoption.
The family now includes commuter couples, no custodial parents, parents with adult children living elsewhere, extended kin such as aunts and uncles, and adult siblings and stepsiblings. The emphasis has been placed on spontaneity, individuality and intimacy rather than the customary heterosexual married-couple social roles.
In fact, federal regulations have now qualified unmarried low-income heterosexual and homosexual couple as families and have consequently allowed them to live in public housing. Some courts have considered unmarried heterosexual gay or lesbian couples, elderly people and their caregivers, institutionalized handicapped people living together and even co-resident groups of students as families (Lamanna & Riedmann 6).
Furthermore, single-parent households and childless unions are also considered families. With this, the family could be any number of people as long as they are bound together by feelings of love and care for each other (Aymer).
In the workplace, specifically in San Francisco and New York, special privileges have been granted to families with domestic partners who may not be married but share each other’s lives in a committed relationship and in the expenses of daily living (Bishop qtd. in Lamanna & Riedmann 10).
On the other hand, these changes in the family set-up are consequences of the challenges that families have encountered in the past decades.