Since the end of the 18th century the world has gone through demographic changes that have affected every aspect of its societies, economies and populations. This ‘demographic transition’ is arguably the most cataclysmic set of changes to strike humankind since people first evolved. It affects both family life and the population as a whole. Here, we investigatewhat's known about the family of today and its antecedents, and whether the demographic transition and concomitant family changes have irrevocably altered the way that families perform.
This In Focus is mainly a reprint of chapter two of the Families and Whānau Status Report 2013 and is written by Ian Pool, Janet Skeats and Natalie Jackson. Additional graphs and tables from the same report are also included.