Survey Reveals the Modern Definition of Family

Gallo Family Vineyards maintains a nearly 80 year-old tradition as a family-owned winery producing wines that honor the spirit of American families, says the company.

However, the definition of family is changing and this inspired the current generation at the winery to conduct a national survey* to capture the contemporary definition of what family is to Americans.

From “relatives and people that care about you” to those who are “always going to be there when you need them,” the results show that today’s definition of family is less about being related and more about how people relate.

Of those surveyed, a mere 12% consider family to be only someone related by blood. Nearly 90% of people have a non-traditional definition of family. The following is a snapshot of what makes up these “found families:”

  • Half of Americans agree that “family” means someone who is always there for you.
  • Among those with a “found family,” friends are the most common people to have a place in the family photo album (76%).
  • 71% of employed Americans have a “work family,” or a group of coworkers they are particularly close with.
  • Almost half (45%) of men have a “sports family,” or a group of people they play or watch sports with and more than one-third (34%) of women also have a sports family.

“Since my grandfather and great uncle, Ernest and Julio Gallo, first started to make wine in 1933, our wines have been enjoyed by generations of American families during all types of occasions,” said Stephanie Gallo, one of the third-generation carrying on the family tradition at the Winery.

“Families have changed in the last 79 years and we wanted to capture a portrait of what family looks like today as a way to celebrate them in all of their shapes, sizes and forms.”

While the definition of family has evolved beyond non-blood-related relatives, Americans have held onto a sense of tradition. Over 40% of Americans said dinner was their favorite way to spend quality time together.

Additionally, more than half of Americans surveyed (59%) said they have a “famous” recipe in their family.  On average, those who have a “famous” family recipe have had the recipe in their family for 42 years, but nearly one-third (29%) of these recipes aren’t written down.

The national survey was conducted by Wakefield Research between April 10 and 18, 2012 and included 1,019 participants, ages 21 and older. The announcement was made Tuesday, August 28.

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