A new survey on family life has been published by the BBC today, you can find the story at
with links to the full research, plus one or two comment articles.
I've not digested it fully, but there's some interesting stuff:
- around 1 in 6 families has a family member they never speak to. Yorkshire people seem to be the most forgiving (1 in 10), folks in Wales and the N.W are the worst.
- the average distance from adults to their parents is over 80 miles. This has a big effect on weekend activity, as a trip to see mum and dad is, with this kind of distance, more likely to take a weekend than just to be a trip down the road, which has a knock on effect to church attendance, and how Sunday works for people as a regular day of worship. There's a micro-trend of children going to their grandparents churches when they go to say, even though they are many miles away from where the children live.
- overall, attitudes to 'the family' are very positive - many people say they are happier with family than with friends, and see family life as very important.
- not mentioned in the BBC articles was that the research lumped together 'married' with 'partnered' (i.e. cohabiting) as a single category. It would have been interesting to see if there were any significant differences between married and unmarried couples. For example, given that cohabiting relationships have a much higher rate of breakup than marriages, the question about how often people argue might have been illuminating.
- with nearly 30% of families arguing once a month or more, could the church help people to learn how to argue well, and with relationship skills generally?
- we're still very relational: 38% of people who no longer live under the same roof as their children speak to them every day.
- half of families share a main meal together every day, 30% do so once a week or less.
- a strong majority put increased marriage breakdown down to the ease of divorce (61%) rather than marriages being less succesful (21%)
and now for my family tea.......