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Most not part of 'proper' families

Eight out of 10 people say their family set-up does not conform to the traditional stereotype of two married parents with two or more children, according to a survey.

The majority of people feel their family is unrepresented by politicians, the media and advertising, with 52% claiming the Government does not take their family set-up into account.

Only 16% of people define themselves as part of a 'traditional' family, according to the research from The Centre for the Modern Family, a new think tank launched by Scottish Widows.

Britons are increasingly likely to describe single-parent, same-sex, or unmarried couples as 'proper' families, the study showed.

Some 57% of people no longer believe that a couple with children have to be married to be a family, while beyond the subject of marriage, 77% of people believe that single parents can be a proper family, and 59% believe that same sex couples can be a family.

A significant minority of people disagreed with these views, indicating a strong polarisation of opinion.

More than a third, 34%, think that a couple should be married to be a family, while 29% believe that same sex couples are not a proper family, and almost one in five, 17%, feel that single parents are not a proper family.

Psychologist professor Tanya Byron said: "Family is the spine of society. Everyone comes from a family, everyone has an opinion on family, and without this vital support network many of us would simply break.

"At a time of continued social change and as the financial squeeze on families gets even tighter, The Centre for the Modern Family aims to improve understanding, and ultimately strengthen families - in all their varied forms - across the country."

The research was completed by the Futures Company and the findings are based on a survey of 3,000 people aged 16 and over living in Great Britain.

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