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Houses, Fertility, and the Nigerian Land Use Act

Publication Abstract

Renne, Elisha. 1995. "Houses, Fertility, and the Nigerian Land Use Act." Population and Development Review, 21(1): 113-126.

This study discusses implications for fertility decline of changes in family houses and houseplot transfers in an Ekiti Yoruba village in southwestern Nigeria. Village land tenure generally derives from kinship ties, with new houseplot claims secured by a family house, occupied by one's children. However, houseplot land is increasingly being secured by nonfamily members through cash payments, and houses built on these plots are being occupied by tenants rather than descendants, weakening the economic salience of kinship. This tendency toward the commoditization of rural land and of family houses is countered by the federal Land Use Act, which discourages the sale of rural land and contributes to a perceived need for many children to maintain one's property holdings. The study suggests that fertility change can only be understood in the broader context of political economy.

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