Ann Oakley described the image of the typical or ‘conventional’ family as ‘nuclear families composed of legally married couples, voluntarily choosing the parenthood of one or more children’ which was regarded by New right sociologists and the Functionalists as the dominant type of family in modern industrial society.
However in 1982 Robert and Rhona Rapoport said that in fact at that time only about 20% of families in Britain consisted of married couples with children in which there was a single breadwinner. The Rapoports argued that there were five distinct elements of family diversity in Britain. Firstly there is organizational diversity, meaning there are variations in family structure, household type, and patterns of kinship network, and differences in the division of labour within the home. This was one of the most significant diversity of the family which was able to be observed from stats and tables. For example in Britain in 2001 27% of households are one-person households, 28% are couples with no children, 20% are couples with 1-2 dependent children, 5% are couples with 3 or more dependent children, 8% are couples which their children are not dependent anymore, 10% are lone parent households, 3% are households with two or more unrelated adults and 1% are multi-family households. This stat has shown that there has not been a dominant family type or kinship network in modern society. Secondly there is cultural diversity suggesting that there are differences in the lifestyles of families of different ethnic origins and different religious beliefs. This statement argues that there have been differences between families of Asian, West Indian and Cypriot origin, not to mention other minority ethnic groups. Thirdly there are differences between families in the different classes of the same society, for instance there are differences between working-class families and middle-class families. Fourthly there are differences