, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 1425–1449 | Cite as

Postmarital Living Arrangements in Historically Patrilocal Settings: Integrating Household Fission and Migration Perspectives

  • Jessica PearlmanEmail author
  • Lisa D. Pearce
  • Dirgha J. Ghimire
  • Prem Bhandari
  • Taylor Hargrove


This study integrates theory and research on household fission (or partition) and migration to better understand living arrangements following marriage, especially in historically patrilocal and primarily agricultural settings. Using panel data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study to analyze the sequential decision-making process that influences men’s living arrangements subsequent to first marriage, we demonstrate the importance of distinguishing among extended family living, temporary migration, and the establishment of an independent household. We find that community economic characteristics, such as access to markets or employment, as well as household wealth affect the initial decision to leave the natal home. Household resources and use of farmland, along with the young men’s own education, media exposure, travel, and marital behavior, influence the decision to make the departure from the natal home permanent. Our findings explain why previous results regarding household fission and those focused on migration have provided such mixed results, and we establish a new framework for thinking about how families and individuals manage living situations.


Living arrangements Household fission Migration Family structure Nepal 



We thank two anonymous Demography reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions. This research was supported by generous grants from the National Science Foundation, Partnerships in International Research and Education (OISE 0729709), and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P2C HD050924 and T32 HD007168).


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jessica Pearlman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lisa D. Pearce
    • 2
  • Dirgha J. Ghimire
    • 3
  • Prem Bhandari
    • 3
  • Taylor Hargrove
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Social Science ResearchUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Population Studies CenterUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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