The Symmetrical Family – Young and Willmott – part 2
Young and Willmott give four reasons for this shift from the Stage 2 to Stage 3 family structure:
- the expansion of welfare state support through family allowances; unemployment benefit; old-age pensions reduced the need for kinship networks
- increase in real-terms of male breadwinner’s wages
- reduced unemployment rates
- increased geographical mobility, as younger couples with children moved further afield to new council housing estates
3. smaller families
- 1970s saw a reduction in number of children in families from an average of 6 per family to just 2.
- smaller number of dependent children gave wives a greater opportunity to work
- this increased the symmetry within the family as two wage earners could contribute to family finances
4. improved living standards
- as homes improved, husbands were felt ‘happier’ to stay at home
- improved home based leisure activities
- improved home comforts which husband could improve on – DIY
Young and Willmott found their home-centred symmetrical family was far more evident in working-class than the middle-class. This is because working-class work tends to be tedious therefore more time and attention is given to the family.