There are different types of families found all over the world. Various socio-logistic have described different types of families depending upon various factors and traditions.

On the basis of type of marriage

On the basis of the type of marriage, families have been classifies as:

(a) Monogamous Family:


In this family, the married couple and their children stay. It is formed on the basis of a single marriage.

(b)P olygamous Family:

When one male or a female marries more than one female or male, a polygamous family is formed. This type of family is neither common in modern societies, nor it bears the approval of the society.

On the basis of descent and authority


On the basis of authority that a person holds in a family, families are of two types:

(a) Matriarchal Families:

In such families the mother holds the major authority. The mother and her family stay together and the family name of the mother’s side is given to her children. The husband comes to stay with the wife’s relatives.

(b) Patriarchal Families:


The authority in such a family lies with the father. The wife goes to stay with her husband and his relatives after their marriage. Children carry father’s name. The father holds the authority to take major decisions.

On the basis of size

Families are of two types on the basis of their size:

(a) Nuclear Family:


It is also called primary family. It refers to such families in which a husband, his wife and their children stay together.

(b) Joint Family:

It is also called extended family. Husband,wife, their children and husband’s relatives stay together. Thus it is an association or group of two or more nuclear families.

On the basis of community


On this basis, the families can be either rural type or urban type.

(a) Rural Family:

A rural family may be defined as a group of persons constituting a family which lives in an agricultural or open country environment. It is generally characterized by a relatively early age of marriage, high birth rate and low divorce rate.

(b) Urban Family:


Such families generally dwell in cities. They have the small size, higher age of marriage, secular outlook, freedom of women and less attachment to traditions.

On the basis of orientation and procreation

On this basis families are of two types:

(a) Family of Orientation:

This is the family in which an individual takes birth. In this family along with the individual, his parents and siblings stay together.

(b) Family of Procreation:

This is the family which an individual establishes or adopts after marriage. This family comprises the individual, his wife and children produced after marriage. Any individual can be a member of either or both types of families.

On the basis of relationships

According to this classification, family can be either consanguineous or conjugal.

(a) Consanguineous Family:

It refers to those families in which blood relatives stay together. In addition to husband and wife, other blood relatives also reside and live in the family.

(b) Conjugal Family:

That family constitutes husband, wife and their children. Such families are smaller in size and less stable. In such families, the marriage based relations have more importance. The emotional and affectional bonds between the members are strong.

On the basis families can be classified into three main groups:

(a) Hindu Family:

In this type of family, marriage is considered to be compulsory and important ritual. Generally, it is monogamous family with joint family system. Culture and traditions have important roles to play in day-to-day life. The trend is now shifting from joint family system towards nuclear family.

(b) Muslim Family:

Marriage is considered compulsory in this type of family also. Mostly polygamous trend is seen in Muslim family. They are quite orthodox and women are strictly kept in vell and granted very little or no freedom.

(c) Christian Family:

Monogamous families are a tradition in this community also. Generally, nuclear families are found and boys and girls are given equal importance and freedom.

On the basis of culture

In this respect, there are two types of culture, i.e., Western culture d Eastern culture and on this basis the families also can be classified. But because of intermingling of various communities, traditions and customs are being adopted from other cultures also by modern families.

(a) Families with Western Culture:

The Western culture gives equal status to men and women. The work, the responsibilities and the rights are equally shared between husband and wife. The families have nuclear set-up in most cases.

(b) Families with Eastern Culture:

Mostly joint or extended families are found in this culture. Rural families are common. Parents in old age are looked after by the family. They are closely bound to their culture and traditions.