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Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)

Abstract

It is generally believed that semipatriarchal patterns characterized rural family life 100 years ago. Husbands and fathers made most of the important family decisions, and only a few family tasks were the joint responsibility of males and females.

As part of the adjustment to new working and living conditions in the growing cities, urban family life over the past several generations has become organized around equalitarian decision-making between husbands and wives and around sharing of many family tasks. Many conditions in rural communities and family life also have been changing during this time. However, there is little information on differences in family decision-making or role patterns between rural and urban families. Research on this problem may be useful for assessing possible changes in rural values and for suggesting the degree to which rural and urban family life reflect common values of the total society.

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