Usage of The Term
Merriam-Webster dates the term back to 1947, whilst the Oxford English Dictionary has a reference to the term from 1925; thus it is relatively new, although nuclear family structures themselves date back thousands of years. The term nuclear is used in its general meaning referring to a central entity or "nucleus" around which others collect.
In its most common usage, the term nuclear family refers to a household consisting of a father, a mother and their children all in one household dwelling. George Murdock, an early and influential observer of families, describes the term in this way:The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It contains adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults.
Many individuals are part of two nuclear families in their lives: the family of origin in which they are offspring, and the family of procreation in which they are a parent.
Read more about this topic: Nuclear Family
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