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  • The family has always been a central building block of society

  • But families have changed dramatically in the rich world...

  • ...over the past 50 years

  • You may kiss your wonderful life partner and your wife...

  • He knows he has a donor

  • He knows that we're both his parents

  • He knows he doesn't have a dad and all of that...

  • ...and it's just normal

  • Changes to society mean that the old model of a breadwinning husband...

  • ...and a stay-at-home wife has all but collapsed

  • A single mum supporting my own children is the normal nowadays

  • And the different ways rich and poor families raise their children...

  • ...are increasing social inequality

  • We are basically paying for pre-school what I paid for college

  • 50 years ago, families didn't look like this

  • We're so gay

  • We work together

  • We live together...

  • ...and love it

  • Today, gay families like Maggie and Joelle's...

  • ...are widely accepted in the rich world

  • There are so many gay families in San Francisco

  • It's amazing

  • It is becoming increasingly normalised

  • Who is in this photo?

  • A generation ago, it was almost unthinkable...

  • ...that same-sex couples would get married

  • Look at this one

  • This one's really pretty...

  • ...I like this one

  • You're pretty

  • But now most people in rich countries think gay marriage is fine

  • I really, really wanted our families to accept our marriage as a marriage...

  • ...and not just like a girlfriend and I think until that time...

  • ...I swear, I think my family just thought I was in a phase for 15 years

  • You were right, the wedding definitely had that effect on our families

  • They're in it with us now

  • Fears that gay marriages would undermine heterosexual ones...

  • ...have proven unfounded

  • And this is one reason why marriage equality has spread...

  • ...so extraordinarily fast

  • Before 2001 gay marriage was not legal anywhere in the world

  • Since then, it's been legalised in nearly all rich countries...

  • ...and developing nations are starting to follow suit

  • In California the right to get married was on and off...

  • ...but I think two months before our wedding was...

  • ...when it became permitted

  • So that was the big part of our ceremony

  • It's a far cry from the 1960s, when families typically consisted...

  • ...of a dad who went to work...

  • ...a stay-at-home mum and three or more kids

  • Better access for women to contraception...

  • ...education and jobs has changed this traditional family portrait

  • Across the globe, families are shrinking

  • Nowhere more so than in South Korea

  • Here a growing number of women...

  • ...are rejecting marriage and having children altogether...

  • ...like Go Lee, who is 26

  • It's Thursday night and I'm with my friends

  • Like many South Korean women, Go and her friends are well educated

  • We're going to have Mexican food which is my favourite...

  • ...and maybe go to karaoke after this

  • She says traditional employers make it hard to combine a career...

  • ...with marriage and motherhood

  • I decided not to get married because...

  • ...first, career-wise when I had my first job...

  • ...there was a senior colleague whom I respected a lot

  • She was devoted to work initially

  • Suddenly she switched focus to her family...

  • ...and I saw her having a career break and her career stalled

  • Go works in IT, but is also a vlogger on YouTube, where she urges...

  • ...South Korean women to be more assertive

  • The problem is that the way you hold yourself is gender specific

  • Women tend to be more passive and confined in the way they stand

  • She believes South Korean men are part of the problem

  • Many expect their wives to do all the housework...

  • ...and childcare, even if they have a job

  • The old patriarchal society in South Korea is the fundamental reason...

  • ...why many South Korean women in their 20s and 30s...

  • ...like me, are choosing not to get married

  • Men view women as anassistant

  • At home, women need to be the homemaker and feed the family

  • There is a huge mismatch of expectations around marriage in South Korea

  • Most men want a 1950s-style relationship...

  • ...whereas women want something more modern and equal

  • The result is they often end up not marrying or having kids at all...

  • ...and that's left South Korea with a problem

  • Its population is in free fall

  • In 1960 the average South Korean woman had six children

  • In 2018 that figure shrank to less than one

  • A fertility rate of one means each generation...

  • ...is half as big as the previous one...

  • ...and in South Korea this means there are fewer workers...

  • ...to support the country's ageing population

  • In rural areas, men are viewed as poor prospects by South Korean women

  • So the government is helping these men...

  • ...to find brides from poorer countries

  • State-funded assimilation centres like this, teach immigrant...

  • ...brides how to cook Korean food...

  • ...how to speak Korean...

  • ...and even how to deal with Korean mothers-in-law

  • Say it with me

  • Like most of her classmates studying here today...

  • ...19-year-old Nguyen Thi Cam Thuy is from Vietnam

  • She recently married a South Korean man...

  • ...40-year-old Kim Dae Hyun...

  • ...who found her through a matchmaking website

  • I saw my wife's picture around September...

  • ...and knew that she was the one

  • I contacted the agency and went to Vietnam

  • Over a fifth of married South Korean farmers and fishermen...

  • ...have tied the knot with a foreigner

  • We got married last October on the 30th...

  • ...and we are enjoying married life in South Korea

  • We don't have any children yet

  • But cross-cultural unions can be difficult...

  • ...and around a fifth of marriages between South Korean men

  • ...and foreign women end in divorce within four years

  • This video of a man beating his foreign wife caused widespread outrage

  • 50 years ago in most rich countries...

  • ...domestic violence was considered normal

  • Now, it is universally condemned and rates have fallen sharply...

  • ...by three-quarters in America alone, since the mid-1990s

  • Today, other factors are more likely to affect the stability of families...

  • ...and these are contributing to a growing gulf between...

  • ...middle-class and working-class families

  • In most rich countries, if you don't go to university...

  • ...you are more likely to have kids outside of marriage

  • And women who don't finish high school are more likely to end up...

  • ...as single mothers than women who have a degree

  • I'm a single mum because at 20-weeks pregnant...

  • ...Dad decided that he didn't want to be around no more

  • So, I let him walk

  • It was easier to let him walk then than it was for him...

  • ...to actually build an attachment with the kids and then walk

  • In Jamie's hometown of Hartlepool...

  • ...in north-east England, 70% of babies are born outside marriage...

  • ...like her twins, Sean and Liam

  • I am the sole earner of the householdwithout my income...

  • ...and my kids interrupting me

  • Oh get him, fetching me cucumbers because they're awesome

  • It can be a financial struggle

  • In Hartlepool in the 1960s...

  • ...men did heavy work in shipyards and factories...

  • ...which was much better paid than any job their wives could find

  • So the women stayed at home with the kids

  • But as technology advances...

  • ...manual work has dried up and uneducated men...

  • ...have struggled to find good jobs

  • Everything industrial here in Hartlepool is gone

  • There's nothing left

  • What comes with industrial decline?

  • Poverty, depression, anxiety

  • Family break-ups, marriages separating, suicide

  • There's all sorts that come...

  • ...because people feel they can't provide for their family

  • If the only men available lack steady jobs...

  • ...and don't help around the home...

  • ...some women feel they are better off alone

  • It can be hard to be a man

  • I presume it would be hard you know having to step back a little bit...

  • ...and realise that you might not be the breadwinner and that you are...

  • ...actually having to rely on a woman...

  • ...to feed the family and keep the roof over their head

  • So yeah, it can be hard for a man

  • Middle-class families have remained solid in rich countries

  • ...over the past 50 years...

  • ...while working-class families have grown much less stable

  • Women with a university degree...

  • ...are more likely than women who do not finish high school...

  • ...to be married and raise children with their husband as a team

  • And this is contributing to a growing social divide...

  • ...a divide that's increasingly apparent in the very different ways...

  • ...middle- and working-class families are raising their children

  • Although American fathers from all backgrounds...

  • ...do much more child care than the previous generation...

  • ...today wealthier fathers spend much more time...

  • ...with their kids than their poorer counterparts do

  • Most of the weekdays, for example, my wife takes care of them...

  • ...taking them to school, picking them up and then when I come from work...

  • ...I feed them, I play with them a little bit and give them a bath...

  • ...and put them to sleep...

  • ...and during the weekends we switch a little bit

  • My husband always comes back home and takes care of dinner...

  • ...sometimes or breakfast during the weekend

  • So, it's very like 50/50 I would say

  • Harvard-educated Gerardo shares the child-care duties...

  • ...with his wife Perla, who also studied there

  • The couple are investing time and money...

  • ...in stimulating their children intellectually

  • We do take her to, for example, like abacus classes after school...

  • ...where she's like starting to learn how to do additions and subtractions...

  • ...and sometimes we come home and do a little bit of extra work

  • By the age of three, the children of professional families...

  • ...have heard 30m more words...

  • ...than children from poorer backgrounds

  • From zero to five, it's very important that you spend time with your kids

  • From there, it's like you feel they already have the values ingrained

  • A child's early years are the most important for cognitive development...

  • ...so children of professionals have a head start long before they start school

  • The pushy middle-class style of raising kids...

  • ...is sometimes called intensive parenting

  • So intensive parenting is the idea that parents are investing...

  • ...an enormous amount of time and energy in their...

  • ...children's development early on

  • Sean Reardon is a professor of poverty and equality in education...

  • ...at Stanford University...

  • ...and has studied the influence of class on parenting...

  • ...and how well kids do in school

  • It's as if you thought of your child as an orchid...

  • ...a delicate flower that needs daily attention...

  • ...as opposed to thinking of your child in the way that parents used to...

  • ...think of their children as a tree or a bush

  • We don't water the trees or the bushes...

  • ...it's in their nature to grow...

  • ...and barring any sort of catastrophe, they'll do just fine

  • Middle-class parents not only talk more to their children...

  • ...and take them to ballet, chess and extra maths classes...

  • ...they also compete to get them into the best schools

  • Actually her school is less than a mile from here

  • It's a bilingual school

  • They have teachers full-time Mandarin and full-time English

  • All of them have master's degrees and very high level education

  • Gerardo and Perla's daughter, Elizabeth, is learning five languages...

  • ...including Mandarin

  • I think going to the school she's gonna be more open to...

  • ...learning and talking with people like turning around...

  • ...and speaking Mandarin and turning around and speaking Spanish

  • Elizabeth, how do you sing happy birthday in Chinese?

  • But all this education doesn't come cheap

  • Elizabeth's pre-school costs $31,000 a year

  • Definitely costs of day care and pre-school...

  • ...have been way more than we expected originally

  • We are basically paying for pre-school what I paid for college

  • So, in the richest communities in the United States the average...

  • ...student scores three to four grade levels above the national average...

  • ...and in the poorest communities, the average student...

  • ...scores maybe two to three grade levels below the national average

  • So, the difference in performance is a result of differences in opportunities

  • A gulf is growing between wealthy families...

  • ...that stick together and raise high-achieving kids...

  • ...and blue-collar