Family Demography in Sub-Saharan Africa: Systematic Review of Family Research

  • Clifford O. OdimegwuEmail author
  • Nicole De Wet
  • Sunday A. Adedini
  • Sathiyasusuman Appunni


Families in Africa have been undergoing changes recently. The objective of this study was to review published literature on the types, determinants and consequences of family changes in Africa and highlight research gaps in the area. Sixty-nine journals from 1976 to date that were downloaded from databases such as PubMed, JSTOR, Google Scholar and ScienceDirect were systematically reviewed. There are family transitions in Africa due to socio-economic factors, religious, health and political changes. Seventy-two percent of the studies employed a quantitative approach, 20% qualitative and 7% mixed method approach. There are research gaps on topics such as same-sex marriages, cohabitation and father-only households. Families in Africa are responding to socio-economic and other changes that are happening around them. Family research is still understudied in Africa. There is a need for more mixed method studies that explain the quantitative findings.


Africa Family transition Systematic review 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clifford O. Odimegwu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicole De Wet
    • 2
  • Sunday A. Adedini
    • 3
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sathiyasusuman Appunni
    • 5
  1. 1.Demography and Population StudiesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Demography and Population Studies Programme, Schools of Public Health and Social SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.Medical Research Council: Respiratory and Meningeal Pathogens Research UnitUniversity of the WitwatersrandWitwatersrandSouth Africa
  4. 4.School of Clinical MedicineUniversity of the WitwatersrandWitwatersrandSouth Africa
  5. 5.Department of Statistics and Population StudiesUniversity of Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa

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