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Romania Table of Contents


Changes in Family Structure

Not only did households become smaller--mostly because of a lower fertility rate--there was also a transition from the traditional extended family of three generations in a single household to the nuclear family of only a couple and their children. By the late 1960s, only 21.5 percent of families had grandparents living with them. This trend was hastened by improved old-age pensions that made it unnecessary for the elderly to live with their children and by the cramped quarters of urban living. However, in the countryside, where about half of Romanian families still lived in the late 1980s, families tended to have more children, and extended families were common. And even when parents and their children lived in separate households, the close relations of kinship were not abolished, even after one or the other had moved to the city. Strong ties between households were evident in the extended family strategies that were aimed at maximizing resources by placing family members in various sectors of the economy. This process led to jointly owned property such as livestock, joint cultivation of garden plots, and shared material comforts from salaried labor.

Data as of July 1989