I'm searching for another, perhaps more technical term for a large and a small family.

To clarify, I simply mean a family with many children and one with very few, if any, children. So I'm not looking for any terms like "nuclear family". Just a family that is in large numbers and one that is in small numbers. Their household could even include of extended family, for all I care.

I assume that neither "populated family" nor "highly populated family" can be used for a large family.


  • A single noun is unlikely. Will an adjective or multiword noun attribute do? – Mitch Jan 3 '15 at 20:39
  • If the large family includes extended family members then clan might be used. – andy256 Jan 3 '15 at 20:54
  • 3
    What's wrong with large family and small family? What do they include or not include that causes you to look for alternatives? – Jim Jan 3 '15 at 21:05
  • Just how technical could a term for 'large family' or 'small family' possibly be? – Erik Kowal Jan 4 '15 at 0:55

(tried to add this as a comment)

There are less technical but more loaded terms. In the 90's, yuppie couples who both worked and had no children were called DINKs (dual income, no kids). Among those with children, one might say American families range from "only-childers" (they had a perfect kid the first time, why risk getting a less-than perfect one on the second go-round?) to ZPGers (Zero Population Growth—they have, on average, about 2.1 kids, which is a really bad deal for the .1 kid) to "right to lifers" (eg faithful Catholics and even some Mormons, who seem to feel it's the wife's God-given duty to keep poppin' out kids until the reproductive equipment gives out). I don't know where my family fits in; my wife only had one visit to the maternity ward, but, unpredictedly, it turned out to be twins. Is there a term for that?


I think by using large and small families that you could be referring to size rather than quantity. In technical writing, it may be better to define your terms ahead of time, in preface style stating large meaning quantity more than one family member or small 1-3 family members as not to confuse a family of 400lb people. Unless of course, that is your objective. I rather tend to make my own terms when being technical. like: "FamilyA = single member", "FamilyB = small group 1 to 3" and "FamilyC = large group 3 or more members".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.