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Family Evolution

The Romanian family has emerged as an institution with high stability, based on the principles of synchronicity and the complementary natures of gender roles (Mitrofan and Ciuperca 1997). The political, social, and economic setting has significantly influenced the structure and the functions of the family system.

The totalitarian society imposed outside pressure on the family, making its space very constrained (Mitrea 1993). Both spouses had to work full-time since this was the most acceptable family model. Family planning was strongly restricted, couples being encouraged to have as many children as possible.

Some of these pressures disappeared after 1989 with the transformation of many aspects of life in Romania. The state is no longer directly involved in family life. Contemporary family members have more choices in terms of individual interests. The family can regulate its own internal life and functions. For example, family planning has become easier and more accessible, allowing people to have more control over their lives. When family self-determination increased through modernization, however, the individual's environment became less secure. Increased liberty is paid for with a growing feeling of insecurity and greater efforts to adapt to unknown social dynamics (Mitrea 1993). Employment of both spouses remains predominant after 1989, mostly because few families can get by on a single income.

Change in the family structure itself has also occurred. Urbanization is responsible for the transition from an extended, multigenerational family pattern to a nuclear one (parents and their children), which maintains significantly strong relationships with the family of origin. In 2000, the urban population was 55 percent, reflecting a trend of migration towards the cities (from 18 percent in 1912) (INS 2001). Family solidarity plays an important role in family life; the term family includes parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and godparents.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsRomania - Political, Social, And Economic Setting, Family Evolution, Family Structure, Family Values, Conclusion