"My family lives in Spain."
Translation:Mi familia vive en España.
Why is it not "viven" 'they live', instead of "he/she/you live"? In Spanish then, does 'familia' refer to a singular unit, instead of a group? My family, they... vs My 'The family', it...?
Yes, la familia is being treated as a singular noun here. However in the plural:
'those families are foreign' would use the 'they' conjugation:
esas familias son extranjeras.
It's the same in English. "Family" is a singular unit, which is why we say "My family lives" (like how we say "he lives", "she lives", "it lives", etc.) instead of "My family live" (like how we say "they live").
I'm English, and I say "my family live ...." not "my family lives....". If someone asks where your family live, you wouldn't say "It lives in .....", you would say "They live in ...." , because it's more than one person. Looking at it another way, if someone asked where your family come from, you would say "they" or "we" (plural), not "it".
Actually, I hate to break it to you, but you're wrong. It's not grammatically correct to conjugate with a plural form for a verb that is referring to a collective noun. Basically a family is a collection of people. And a collection uses "is" not "are". It really should be my family lives, not live.