A Big Fat Indian Family sounds like a stereotypical image of perfect Indian families in Bollywood movies like “Hum Saath Saath Hai“, “Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Gham,” etc., But many of the Indians are living in similar joint family structures, and this number, with the modernization, is only increasing.
In a survey conducted by Shaadi.com on 3,962 single men and 4,617 single women, 54.3% of men said they were more likely to stay with their parents after marriage. In contrast, 64.1% of women said that they wanted to live with their husbands only. And according to a research paper, India’s 60% of senior citizens prefer to live with their married son rather than their daughter.
Modernization theory: According to this theory, the breaking of prominent extended or joint families into multiple nuclear families is directly proportional to the development of a nation. And this trend can be easily traced in more developed countries like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, And there could be two reasons for that:
- In these countries, people prefer to have fewer children.
- As the employment rate is high in these countries, the chances of parents and their children both working in different cities are also high.
But for India, this theory doesn’t work as the percentage of married men living with parents has increased instead of decreasing.
In South Asian countries, most married couples live with their parents, and there are many factors for this.
One is the High Fertility Rate- when the average no of children a woman gives birth is high. Then there are higher chances that parents will live with at least one of the children. And it is not a new thing because Asian societies are comparatively more collectivist, whereas western cultures are more individualistic.
In a collectivist society, family plays a vital role, and more children are preferred.
Then why does India not follows the modernization theory?
1.Family businesses: Indian economy is very much dependent on small family businesses. Compared to other countries, most Indians work in small companies. These companies are mostly family businesses, and that is why sometimes India’s economic growth is considered Jobless Growth.
2.Hindu Undivided Family (HUF): One of the reasons why family businesses are popular in India. HUF is a legal entity by which Hindu family members can pool their family assets which give tax benefits as all the pooled assets will be taxed only once, and that is why many young Indian college graduates want to work for their family business because it will give them a job and income security. If you work in a family business, there are more chances that your family is a stem or joint family.
3.Low Female Employment: As India’s economy is growing, the participation of women in the workforce is decreasing. A study paper shows that almost two crore women have left the job force. And as they are not working anymore, moving out of the house and creating a nuclear household is now more difficult. Also, because women are at home now, it means that the only earning person is the husband, and as a result, they are now more dependent on their parents for their income. Because of low income, buying a new house, especially in a different city, is difficult, making couples stay in their parent’s house.
Strong Family Bonds:
In India, families play essential roles in someone’s major life decisions, from education to marriage. The whole family’s opinions and ideas are considered whenever making significant decisions. For a prolonged period, people are running family businesses together, helping each other during hard times, and sharing the lands and properties. Many people in India think that if they settle in different cities or have separate households, they can lose all their support during hard times. Which in turn affects the decision of living in an individual family.
Families are broadly divided into nuclear families, joint families, and stem families. But India also has many different variations like caste-based families, and every family follows some traditions, which affects how many people live in a household. Still, one common thing in many Indian families is that most parents live with their sons, which is why more married men live with parents than married women. In single-parent families where a mother is the only parent, The chances of her parents living with the family are high. Still, only 1% of Indians aged above 65 live with their daughters. In contrast, around 60% live with their son.
Increase in life expectancy:
India has seen a growth in life expectancy; a parent is now more likely to live with his 30-year son in 2020 than in 1985. Life expectancy changed differently in different Indian states, but a study noted that the average Indian life expectancy was 70.8 years in 2019, which used to be 59.6 years in 1990.
It means that parents are now living more which increases the probability that they live with their children.
Things are changing
The economic conditions of a person affect that in which Family type they will create. Financially unstable people are more likely to form nuclear households. One of the main reasons behind this is that the income is not sufficient to fulfil the needs of many family members. And amid covid-19, around 230 million Indian residents are pushed into poverty, which means that feeding more family members is now hard for them, plus because many small businesses are shut down due to covid. Many people are moving to big cities for work, and the chances of creating a nuclear family are high.
Is living with parents after marriage a good thing?
This statement cannot be justified nor denied as it depends upon the individuals and their needs, and some specific factors don’t work for everyone. Because India is known as a country where language and culture changes after every mile, few peoples opinion can not be used to label the whole nation.