It’s 2010: What Makes a Family?

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David Arky/Corbis

It’s a simple word, but good luck getting everyone to agree on a definition.

According to a study released Wednesday, Americans have markedly different ideas on what makes a family. Brian Powell, a sociologist at Indiana University, conducted three surveys over seven years that charted what exactly Americans were willing to define as a family unit. The results? Currently, 68% of Americans count a same-sex couple with children as a family, up from 54% in 2003. Clearly the kids have something to do with it — just 33% of people see a same-sex couple sans children as a family. Some 30% of respondents were willing to group pets into their menage, but not the same-sex couples.

“The sheer idea that gay couples are given less status than pets should give us pause,” Powell told the Associated Press.

While the survey proves a good gauge of shifting societal mores, the government’s definition of a family remains much more cut and dry: “A family is a group of two people or more (one of whom is the householder) related by birth, marriage, or adoption and residing together,” according to the Census Bureau. Sorry, Fido. (via Yahoo News)

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