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extended familythe unit formed both by family members who are in the nuclear family and those who are not, but are still considered to be close relatives. While the nuclear family is composed of a couple and their children, the family group is ‘extended’ when the grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, or any selection of these, are included.
Extended families living together as a unit in one location occur more often in preindustrial societies, rather than in industrial societies where the nuclear family is sometimes seen as more compatible with the needs of modern economies. Sec also FAMILY, SOCIOLOGY OF THE FAMILY.