When agriculture was the major occupation and the population was mainly rural, the basic social unit in both countries was the ‘extended’ family. This consisted not only of the active marriage pair but included their ageing parents, their growing children and possibly also their unmarried brothers and sisters. It was an economic as well as a social unit: it worked as a team on the farm and lived as a group in the farmhouse. Other closely related families lived near by, and mutual aid and mutual visiting were frequent between them. This model was more typical, more widespread and more deeply rooted in Russia than in America, because in the United States there was more mobility, both geographically across the country and socially up and down the income scale. Such mobility weakened the large or ‘extended’ family and people relied more on neighbours than on relatives for mutual assistance and social contact.
KeywordsDivorce Rate Collective Farm Housing Shortage Soviet Citizen Soviet Authority
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