Demography of African Family: Nineteenth to Twenty-First Century

  • Nyasha Mutanda
  • Emmanuel O. Amoo


The study conducted a review of African family household typologies from the nineteenth century up to the twenty-first century. It also ran a three-decade, multi-country descriptive analysis of trends and patterns of African family households, structures, sizes and their rural-urban distributions between the 1900s and 2011, using census data of ten African countries obtained from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) database. The study highlighted that the extended family and the two-parent family have remained as the predominant family types across all the ten countries. However, there has been a decline in extended families and a gradual increase in two-parent families. Solitary living, couple and single-parent families are on the rise also. The study concludes that African families are diverse, but the diversities and changes over time vary from country to country. This calls for further research on various emerging family types to inform the formulation of policies that encompass all family types and goes beyond the nuclear definition of family, taking into consideration country-specific contextual factors and drivers of change.


African family household Family typologies Family size Extended Nuclear Kinship 



The authors wish to acknowledge the statistical offices that provided the data that made this research possible: Central Bureau of Census and Population Studies, Cameroon; Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, Egypt; Central Statistical Agency, Ethiopia; Ghana Statistical Services, Ghana; National Statistics Directorate, Guinea; National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya; National Statistical Office, Malawi; National Directorate of Statistics and Informatics, Mali; Department of Statistics, Morocco; National Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria; Statistics South Africa, South Africa; and Central Statistics Office, Zambia. The authors also wish to thank the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, for providing resources and facilities that enhanced the preparation of the manuscript. Finally, the authors appreciate the Minnesota Population Center that granted us access to consolidated census datasets through integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) International, Version 6.4.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nyasha Mutanda
    • 1
  • Emmanuel O. Amoo
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Demography and Population Studies ProgrammeUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Demography and Social Statistics, School of Social SciencesCovenant UniversityOtaNigeria

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