Methodology Box 7: Kinship classification One way to organize a more detailed classification is to compare across different household structures, first organizing across those with and without other adults in the household, then by male or female head, and finally by meaningful comparisons across different family nuclei. See the classification structure just below, illustrated with data from Cambodia (2008) and El Salvador (2007).
Table 24: Household composition by headship for Cambodia (2008) and El Salvador (2007) Cambodia (2008) Without Other Adults With Other Adults
Male head Female head Male head Female head
Head without spouse or children 30,274 68,377 52,970 174,078
Couple without children 121,031 10,135 256,785 19,225
Couple with 1-2 children under 15 485,038 38,463 568,448 45,617
Couple with 3+ children under 15 246,319 18,834 288,206 22,632
Lone parent with 1-2 children under 15 12,286 81,563 32,561 173,868
Lone parent with 3+ children under 15 2,835 25,275 9,601 49,643
Other structure or unknown 5,204 2,629
El Salvador (2007) Without Other Adults With Other Adults
Male head Female head Male head Female head
Head without spouse or children 69,568 52,601 38,872 108,311
Couple without children 85,439 9,687 112,138 14,037
Couple with 1-2 children under 15 214,715 16,282 178,165 22,952
Couple with 3+ children under 15 88,305 7,301 83,394 10,522
Lone parent with 1-2 children under 15 6,358 54,673 26,867 123,728
Lone parent with 3+ children under 15 1,578 22,474 9,479 47,289
Other structure or unknown 1,222 528
Source: Computed based on REDATAM data base, ECLAC/CELADE
296. The proposed division by number of children is merely a suggestion. Depending on the level of fertility in a country, it may be more appropriate to divide parents by whether they have 0, 1 to 3, or 4 children or more. In other cases, a mere classification in terms of whether the family nucleus does or does not have children may be sufficient. Note that lone female heads of households with children and no other adults in both of the tables above account for only about 15 per cent of all female-headed households. About double that percentage is made up by female heads of household without spouse, but with children and other adult household members. However, about half or slightly over half of all female-headed households consist of women living alone, with a spouse or a spouse and children, or with other adults and no children under age 15. In particular, note the large number of female household heads living without spouse or children under age 15, but with other adults. In El Salvador these make up about 22 per cent of the female-headed households and in Cambodia almost 24 per cent.
297. In Cambodia, about 40 per cent of these households have people over 60 living in them, compared to the average of 23.5 per cent for all households (not shown in Table 24). These can consist of older women without spouses and with adult children, or younger women without spouse or children caring for elderly parents. Overall, there are 33,724 households where one woman between the ages of 15 and 50 lives together with older adults, without any children under age 15 or other adults. This is about 5 per cent of all households that have people over age 60 living in them. The number of households where one man between the same ages lives with adults over the age of 60, without children under age 15 or other adults, is smaller, namely 23,274. This suggests some tendency for the care of older persons to fall disproportionally on women, although the absolute size of the numbers and the difference between them is not as large as one might expect. In countries where this is an issue, especially in Eastern and Southeast Asia, it is recommended to produce tables that elaborate on these kinds of household compositions.
298. The age of the heads of household and possibly their marital status may be taken into consideration, as well as the existence of household members living abroad, which may indicate that the household is receiving remittances. One may also wish to further subdivide the households with “Other adults”, to allow the inclusion of structures that may be of particular interest, such as those that include the parents of the head of household or the spouse. Households headed by grandmothers that care for their grandchildren are a group of growing importance, not only in Sub-Saharan Africa (due to the impact of AIDS), but even in the United States, where they now comprise more than one fourth of all female-headed households with children (US Bureau of the Census, 2003). The “Other structures” in the above tables include households of several unrelated individuals living together and grandparents or aunts/uncles with grandchildren or nephews/nieces, without the parents.
299. Obviously, if all the relevant distinctions are made, the resulting table will end up being quite complex. The actual decision on how detailed the table should be will require some compromise between comprehensiveness and relevance of the possible subdivisions. For some purposes, it may be sufficient to disaggregate by broad age categories (e.g. less than 25, 25-49, 50-64, 65+) of the head of household or to omit the age disaggregation altogether. In countries with little international migration, the distinction between households that do or do not have members residing abroad may not be important. In other countries, where extended households are rare, it may not pay off to go into much detail about the identity of the "other adults" co-residing with the basic family nucleus.
300. Vanuatu (2011) provides an example of a country that did extensive tabulations of household composition by headship. Among others, it also disaggregated the data by rural-urban residence and by main source of income. The classification of household structures is different from the ones used above. Next to the number of male and female-headed households a detailed classification of household type is made (see Table 25). For nuclear households consisting of mothers and children and fathers and children, a sub-division was made according to the number of children under 15 belonging to the household (0 children, 1 – 3 children and 4 or more children). Also, the mean number of persons in the household per household type and sex of the head is given. Finally, the sex ratio (i.e. the number of males/females*100) for the heads of households of each household type is presented. For nuclear, single parent households, the sex ratios refer to the corresponding class: e.g. (the number of fathers with 0 children under 15)/(the number of mothers with 0 children under 15) *100.
Source: Population and Housing Census of Vanuatu (2009)
301. The sex ratios of head of household show that in nuclear families where a couple is present, males are 13 to 14 times more likely to be chosen as head of households than women. Because women are more likely than men to be a lone parent, sex ratios are very low. Note that there are almost ten times more women with more than 3 children under 15 than men (sex ratio = 11.1). Also among extended and composite households the sex ratios show that men or much more likely than women to be chosen as head. However, this chance is much lower than among nuclear household containing a couple. While the number of persons in household headed by males and females is more or less the same among nuclear households, extended and composite household headed by women are smaller.
302. The information on main source of income of Vanuatu households (not shown here) suggests that male-headed households are somewhat more likely to depend on wages or salaries (81.5 per cent in urban areas and 18.8 per cent in rural areas) than female-headed households (79.2 and 16.0 per cent, respectively). This is particularly the case for lone heads of households with children and extended households. In the case of couples in nuclear households with female heads are actually slightly more dependent on wages or salaries. Households that depend predominantly on remittances are relatively few (1-3 per cent), but increase to 5-8 per cent in the case of a few household categories, such as rural grandfathers or grandmothers caring for grandchildren, lone male household heads in rural areas living with parents or in-laws, and women living by themselves.
303. Although a more in-depth investigation of the household determinants of female labour force participation and the school attendance of children requires multivariate methods, there are some basic tabulations that one may produce in order to get at least an idea on how these characteristics vary between different types of households. These tabulations might include the following:
School attendance of young girls and boys (e.g. ages 6-11) by
Presence of a grandmother (i.e. the head's mother or mother-in-law) in the household;
Presence of a live in domestic servant;
Presence of one or both parents (father and mother, father only, mother only, neither);
Number of older- younger siblings in the household.
Women’s labour force activity status by...
Household composition (see next section);
Presence of elderly household members, particularly grandmothers (of the children in the household);
Presence of a live in domestic servant.
Figure 8: Swaziland (2007) – Percentage of female-headed households by tinkhundla (from lightest to darkest, the colour gradations indicate 6-11, 12-18 and 19-34 per cent)