Changing Family Functions
Structure and function are two aspects of the same thing. Changes in one are both cause and effect of changes in the other. What
changes in function accompany changes in family structure?
THE ECONOMIC FUNCTIONS HAVE GREATLY DECLINED. A century ago the American family was a unit of economic production, united by shared work on the farm. Today only one of thirty-five families is a farm family; and even the farm family is not the self-sufficient unit of the past. Except on the farm, the family is no longer a basic unit of economic production; this has shifted to the shop, the factory, the office. The family is no longer united by shared work, for its members work separately. Instead, the family is a unit of economic consumption, united by companionship, affection, and recreation.