Family Size and Family Well-Being: The Views of Thai Villagers

Publication Abstract

Sittitrai, Werasit, Brent Wolff, John E. Knodel, Napaporn Havanon, and Chai Podhisita. "Family Size and Family Well-Being: The Views of Thai Villagers." PSC Research Report No. 90-191. 8 1990.

This report is the last in a series that examines the relationship between family size and family well-being in rural Thailand based on the project entitled "Socio-economic Consequences of Fertility Decline for the Thai Family" that was undertaken by the Institute of Population Studies at Chulalongkorn University. Previous reports in the series have focussed on three separate substantive areas of this relationship: the effect of family size on children's education, women's employment and the accumulation of wealth. This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the qualitative data gathered through the focus group component of the study, incorporating each of the substantive topics.

Discussion participants generally concur that family size has an important bearing on the social and economic demands placed on familes and the options open to them across a broad array of topics. These include education, the accumulation of material wealth and women's labor force participation. There is general consensus among participants that family size directly influences the ability of parents to send their children on to secondary level education for all but the most rich or most poor. The ability of familes to save money and to acquire material goods is also perceived to diminish with many children, at least while the children are still dependent. In addition, discussions revealed that the ability of women to participate in the labor force is influenced by the number of children left to a mother's care, though disruption of work takes place more in the form of interference with work while children are still young than permanent withdrawal from the labor force or even prolonged interruption of normal economic activities.

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