Ukrainian families are usually close-knit. Before 1991, however, all citizens were expected to put the needs of the Soviet state ahead of their families. Communist organizations were created to take the place of family in people's lives. Although the independent-minded Ukrainians did not always adopt communist attitudes, Ukrainian society is still recovering from the effects of Soviet domination.

Family life has also been affected by the shortage of housing in Ukraine. When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, the government owned and maintained most of the housing and rents were cheap. Now neither the government nor the workers have the money to pay for housing. The existing houses and apartment buildings are old and in need of repair.

Although the housing system is being reformed, it will take many years until Ukrainians can get the housing they need at a price they can afford. In the meantime, most houses and apartments are overcrowded. Two or more families may live in a space that could be considered inadequate for one family.

Despite the crowded conditions in the cities, Ukrainians love to entertain their friends in their homes. Also, most cities have extensive and beautiful parks where families can walk, meet friends and play games.

Did you know?

During the Soviet period many retired Russian officers moved to Crimea not only because of its mild, healing seaside climate, but also for political reasons. The area was also a popular place for workers to take vacations. There is still a large number of Russians in Crimea, although the peninsula is an integral part of Ukraine.