Human Nature

, Volume 22, Issue 1–2, pp 128–138 | Cite as

Dynamics of Postmarital Residence among the Hadza

A Kin Investment Model
  • Brian M. WoodEmail author
  • Frank W. Marlowe


When we have asked Hadza whether married couples should live with the family of the wife (uxorilocally) or the family of the husband (virilocally), we are often told that young couples should spend the first years of a marriage living with the wife’s family, and then later, after a few children have been born, the couple has more freedom—they can continue to reside with the wife’s kin, or else they could join the husband’s kin, or perhaps live in a camp where there are no close kin. In this paper, we address why shifts in kin coresidence patterns may arise in the later years of a marriage, after the birth of children. To do so, we model the inclusive fitness costs that wives might experience from leaving their own kin and joining their husband’s kin as a function of the number of children in their nuclear family. Our model suggests that such shifts should become less costly to wives as their families grow. This simple model may help explain some of the dynamics of postmarital residence among the Hadza and offer insight into the dynamics of multilocal residence, the most prevalent form of postmarital residence among foragers.


Kinship Hadza Hunter-gatherers Postmarital residence Inclusive fitness 



We thank the Hadza people for their hospitality, and the National Science Foundation, the Leakey Foundation, and the Wenner Gren Foundation for research funding. We thank the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology for permitting us to conduct research with the Hadza and Professor Audax Mabulla for his assistance. Thank you Mary Shenk and Siobhán Mattison for organizing the kinship symposium at the 2009 AAA meetings. We also thank the anonymous reviewers of an earlier version of this article for their comments and helpful suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyDurham UniversityDurhamUK

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