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ISR's program in Society, Population, and Environment (SPE) focuses on social change and social issues worldwide.

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psc brown bag iconWorldwide Household Patterns of Young Couples in Multilevel Perspective

Jeroen Spijker (Researcher, Centre d'Estudis Demografics, Barcelona, Spain)

03/29/2011, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

Co-sponsored with the Survey Research Center

While young couples in western societies generally form a new household, in developing societies new unions are often incorporated into existing households. However, there is a growing tendency in the nuclearization of households as intergenerational coresidence is undermined by growing wage labor opportunities that provide incentives for rural-urban migration and because small nuclear families adapt better to urban societies characterized by high geographic and social mobility. The objective of this paper is therefore to jointly study for a selection of low- to middle-income countries the socioeconomic and demographic conditions of women aged 15-34 and their partners in relation to their household patterns with particular interest going out to the comparison of nuclear and extended households. The analysis will mainly rely on data from the Integrated Public Use of Microdata Series International database (https://international.ipums.org/international/) from which census samples for the last two or latest available census rounds for 22 countries have been extracted. Results showed that women being of older age (within the 15-34 range), having attained at least primary school education, being of similar or slightly younger age than the male partner, being employed, a mother and not living in a rural area were all associated with living in a nuclear household. However, as these factors explain only a small part of the overall variation in the household arrangements of young couples, there are a likely number of demographic, family composition and time factors that may be behind the overall slow transition towards the nuclear family. Although they could not be tested using census micro data in a direct manner, we will attempt to do so in an indirect way in the future.


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