Evolution of kinship structures and households in Africa. A case study in Senegal

Gilles Pison, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Bruno Masquelier, Université Catholique de Louvain

Living arrangements are determined by the availability of kins – children, grand-children, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. –, which is itself influenced by mortality, nuptiality and fertility patterns, and by the rules of cohabitation. Therefore, when households are evolving in a society, part of the change is attributable to changes in demographic patterns, and part of the changes is due to modifications in cohabitation rules. We examine this question for contemporary sub-Saharan Africa with the case study of a rural area of Senegal (West Africa) where polygyny is frequent and extended families the norm. The population of the area has been followed up over more than 40 years, and mortality, nuptiality and fertility trends can be retraced over this period. Genealogies have been collected, and the evolution of the size and composition of households and kin groups can be described. In this paper, observed living arrangements will be compared to expectations computed using micro-simulations and analytical models. Projections will be developed with various demographic and social scenarios.

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Presented in Poster Session 3