The main factors responsible for change in the joint family system are industrialisation, urbanisation and modernisation, which are inter-linked. With industrialisation, there is growth of urban centres and consequent movement of people from villages to cities.

This process brings in a new pattern of living-urban living characterised by dense population, diversification and specialization of occupation, division of labour, anonymous and isolated surroundings. Ii also increases competition for resources and struggle for better living.

Increase in educational opportunities and occupational choices allow people to move from agriculture-based occupations to non- agricultural, industrial or service-based occupations.

These require separation of residence from ancestral village and setting up of small homes with wife and children in the town or urban centre. Even when people do not have to shift to towns, their villages are getting urbanised and coming under the direct reach of markets.


Differential earnings by brothers and the desire to set up one’s own home for a more comfortable living is working towards disintegration of joint families. With increased earnings and availability of modern technology, one does not have to depend on collective labour to do farming.

With fragmentation of landholdings and release of joint property, joint family is no longer a need or compulsion. Especially, the marginal farmers and landless labourer classes have no incentive to live together in joint families as for them joint living does not ensure any security.

The stress of poverty and economic difficulties faced by rural people pushes them towards cities. The struggle for survival being hard, they can only bring their views and children along with them.

Education and empowerment of women also play a significant role in the change. As women get educated and seek jobs in various sectors


at par with men, their status is enhanced. They prefer to settle down in cities or near their work places away from the joint home.

Besides, the growth of individualism and breakdown of traditional value systems are also important factors leading to nuclear families. In fact, the process of change in family organisation started with the advent the British who brought in the ideas of liberalism and individualism.

Individualism entails the freedom of individual in decision making, desire to acquire personal wealth and property, establish separate home after marriage, educate one’s children in good schools etc. It works against the spirit of joint family.

The celebration of nuclear family by the State for the purpose of population control also undermines the idea of joint family. The picture of a man, his wife and a son and a daughter, presented as the ‘happy family’, is embedded in the culture as a norm. People start thinking that the small family or nuclear family is the happy family.