The joint family system was best suited to an agrarian society characterized by limited mobility, simple division of labour and the prevalence of customs and traditionsBut consequent upon the forces of industrialization, urbanization and modernization, the Indian joint family too has undergone profound changes in recent times. The changes are structural, functional and interactional in nature.
Structural Changes in the Hindu Joint Family:1. The trend of family form:The trend of family form is towards a breakaway from the traditional joint family form into nuclear family units.2. Small family size:The size of the joint family has become small. The reason of the small size of the joint family is attributed to the prolific use of contraceptives and the tendency to regard children as an obstacle to the progress and enjoyment of family life.3. Functional jointness:The number of fissioned families is gradually increasing. Even then they are keen in fulfilling their traditional obligations towards their parental families.4. Equal status for women:In the past, the position of women in the joint family set-up was miserable. Several factors such as spread of female education on a war-footing, growing economic and employment opportunities for them, abolition of child marriage, introduction of widow remarriage, increased political consciousness on the part of females etc have gone a long way in according equal status for women. Further, today women share the responsibility with their husbands while arriving at major family decisions. All these have affected the stability of the joint family system.