Household and Family Structure in Africa: Trends and Patterns
Latifat Ibisomi, Clifford Odimegwu, Nicole de Wet
Demography and Population Studies Programme, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

The household is the basic family unit in most societies. It is usually the locus of joint decisions regarding consumption, production, labour force participation, savings, and capital formation. Thus, household size and composition and how the two vary over time have consequences for the socio-economic well-being as well as demographic outcomes within households. Recent growth of population amidst slackened societal control has also resulted into the emergence of new patterns of living arrangements - from traditional (extended household system) to increasingly nuclear/single households. This study seeks to document levels and pattern of household size and composition over time, across sub-Sahara Africa and to examine composition of families and changes in its membership.

The study will use 5-10% sample census data of selected countries in sub Sahara Africa (including some conflict and post-conflict countries) with at least two available data sets. Our analysis will be descriptive and results presented largely with line graphs and tables. Only regular households and co-resident persons will be considered. The four types of regular households identified are: single-person, nuclear, extended and composed (nuclear or extended with non-relatives).

Analysis will include:

– Proportion of persons by household type and age group

– Age distribution by sex of household members

– Educational status of heads of household by sex

– Proportion of female headed households by country

– Proportion of female headed households by household type and age group of head

– Proportion of nuclear households by countries

Finally, the study will explore if emerging household and family structure patterns are related to observed levels of selected socio-economic and demographic indicators in the individual countries and the region at large. The policy implication of the findings will be discussed.

Keywords: Household; Family; Africa; Trends

Biography: Dr. Latifat Ibisomi holds a PhD in Demography and Population Studies, MSc (Medicine) in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, MSc in Population Studies and BSc (Honours) in Statistics. Over the last 22 years, she has pursued a career in population matters. She now works with the Demography and Population Studies Programme of University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa where she is engaged in academic and research works. She has previously worked in government, NGOs and International institutions. She has managed and led a number of evaluations of reproductive health projects in sub Sahara Africa including evaluation of progress on the Maputo Plan of Action in nine African Countries and assessment of the policy framework for sexual and reproductive health and HIV linkages in Kenya. Over time, she has participated in many academic and specialized population and health trainings, teachings, conferences and programmes and has published a number of peer-reviewed papers.