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The impact of urbanization on the traditional family systems in Africa

Dionisia Maffioli, Università degli Studi di Bari
Giuseppe Gabrielli, Università di Bari
Piero Sacco, Università di Bari

The paper analyses the family systems in several Sub-Saharan countries and in some of their principal ethnic groups, using data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). A typology of the African family has been established, that seeks to clarify the kinship structure within the household and provides an evaluation of the degree of "nuclearity" of the family. Family classification also put emphasis on polygamy, single parenthood, women-headed families, non-nuclear and single persons families. The objective is to establish if there is an ongoing processus of family nuclearization and to determine the impact of urbanization in this processus. The rural-urban differences are examined and partially considered as signs of the future evolutions. Ethnicity is also considered owing to the importance of the cultural heritage in shaping family systems and their evolution. In a cross sectional perspective, an attempt to explore connections between family change and fertility a factorial analysis was performed.

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Presented in Session 29: Changing household structures and socioeconomic roles