Statistically speaking, a vast majority of people get married at some point in their life, and the probability increases as they get older, approaching 90%. About 40% of households in the United States have at least one child. Humans are generally born to two biological parents, even if not present / deceased / etc — in sci-fi we might have exceptions to this. This presents an interesting situation when writing fiction. Odds are our characters will have family, friends, parents, spouses, grandparents, uncles, etc, etc, but if these characters are not relevant to the story, then we have no reason to write them in. Should we write characters who don’t have families instead? But is that realistic, particularly if we have a large cast? If we look at Star Wars as a popular example, we see that families are often never mentioned, or are killed off for plot reasons: Luke: family conveniently dies as part of his call to heroism Obi-wan: Vow of chastity Leia: family dies while she is held captive on the Death Star, never gets screen time in the original trilogy Han: Family never mentioned in the OT Chewbaca: Has not returned to Kasshykk for mating rituals yet C3PO / R2D2: Love circuits not installed The emperor: rules alone, no plans of hereditary monarchy here Governor Tarkin: apparently there aren’t family quarters on the Death Star, or all off screen Lando: runs cloud city alone, unless you count Lumboc In general I think we will find the following methods used in fiction for writing families in or out: Character has a family and they are relevant to the story (Tris in Divergent) Character is an orphan (Rey in Star Wars) Character’s family dies off, initiating the call to adventure (Series of unfortunate events, Luke in Star Wars, Kingkiller Chronicles) Character lives or works alone, and any extended family is largely irrelevant to the story (Bilbo in The Hobbit, Arthur Dent, Jean Luc Piccard) Character only has one parent, either genetic or adopted, who is relevant to the story (Po in Kungfu Panda, Buddy in Elf, Frodo in LOTR, Catnis in Hunger Games, Anakin in Star Wars) The family is still alive but is endangered in some way, motivating the adventure (Jack Bauer in 24) Character has a family, but the hero is separated from them, often teleported to another world, and they remain largely irrelevant to the story By writing in tragedies like the hero’s family dying in the story or them being an orphan, it does create additional conflict, but it usually comes off as cliche. Do your characters have families? If not, how do you write them out?