How Does Globalisation Impact Family Life?

Last Updated on September 4, 2023 by Karl Thompson

Globalisation is a key concept within A-level sociology, and students may be asked to consider how it affects family life.

One possible question which may come up on the families and households exam paper is:

Outline and Explain two ways in which globalisation may impact family life in the UK (10)

A good strategy to answer this question is to pick two different aspects of globalisation and discuss how these influence different aspects of family life. For more specific advice on how to answer these see ‘10 mark questions‘.

For example I would choose economic globalisation and migration as my two aspects of globalisation. Then I would discuss how these lead to a variety of changes to family life.

It is generally good advice to avoid overlap between your two points.

This post is written as a summary answer to the above exam question. For a more in-depth look at this topic see: Globalisation and Family Life.

Two ways in which globalisation may impact family life

One aspect of globalization is increased immigration to the UK. This has affected family life in the following ways:

  • There are more ethnically diverse families as British born people form relationships and families with people originally from other countries.
  • This means there are more families stretched across borders. This could mean more travel abroad to maintain family connections, for those who can afford it.
  • There are more people sending money to other countries if their partners have not come to Britain with them.
  • Immigrants have higher birth rates so this has positively affected the dependency ratio.
  • One downside of the above may mean increased pressure on public services.
  • Increased immigration doesn’t necessarily mean increased integration. Migrant families may remain relatively isolated in their own communities.
  • For very wealthy families, some have taken advantage of cheap migrant labour to employ cleaners and child carers.
  • In extreme cases this is related to an increase in modern slavery, hidden in the domestic sphere.

Another aspect of globalisation is a more globalised economy.

  • In general this has resulted in economic growth in the UK. This is correlated with lower birth rates and a smaller family size.
  • Recently increased amounts of university students from abroad means fewer places for British children. Some choose not to go to university, which could increase the number of households with young adults.
  • There has been a shift in manufacturing abroad. This means a decline in traditional male jobs, more equality between men and women in relationships (link to topic 5)
  • There are more financial crises (‘credit crunch’) – more divorce/ family instability (link to topic 2).


This material is mainly relevant to the families and households module.

For more information on exam advice for the AQA’s A-level sociology please see my page on essays and exams.

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