Family structure and change in rural Bangladesh
Population Studies 52(2): 201-213
Publication date: 1998
This analysis uses data from an intensive village study to investigate whether rising landlessness leads to increasing fragmentation and nucleation of families in rural Bangladesh. It was found that, even after rapid fertility decline, the elderly and women continue to rely extensively on family support. Although landlessness puts stress on intergenerational relations, a favourably low dependency ratio (elders to sons), brought about by the child-mortality decline of the 1950s and 1960s, has allowed the burden to be spread over larger numbers of sons than were previously available. A persistence of traditional living arrangements, in which sons form their own households in the homesteads of their fathers, also contributes to retarding the process of family disintegration that is likely to be caused when farm size decreases and the role of the farm economy in a traditional peasant society diminishes.