The Family Outside the Home: Understanding Extra-Residential Kinship Networks in a Rural African Setting

Simona Bignami , Université de Montréal
Yacine Boujija, Université de Montréal

In the African context, the extended family is the most important unit of social organization. Yet, kinship relationships are rarely measured in censuses and surveys, which rely on the co-residential household as the primary unit of enumeration. In this paper, we take advantage of a unique linked dataset to map the structure and characteristics of extra-residential family networks in a rural West African setting. By doing so, we make a methodological and substantive contribution to the existing literature. On the one hand, we can answer the question: how many close family members do not live under the same roof? This is critical to evaluate the potential bias of existing censuses and surveys. On the other hand, we can assess what are characteristics of ties that link family members within and outside the household, which will foster a better understanding of social network processes in population science.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions