Diversity and change in Cambodian households, 1998-2006

Type Journal Article - Journal of Population Research
Title Diversity and change in Cambodian households, 1998-2006
Volume 25
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Page numbers 287-313
URL http://escholarship.org/uc/item/5hd658kt.pdf
Extant ethnographic studies suggest that the nuclear family has been the predominant living arrangement in Cambodia, and the country’s rapid socioeconomic transformation since the early 1990s may have accentuated that dominance. To examine these claims, we analyse here household structure in Cambodia between 1998 and 2006, based on data from the 1998 Census, two nationally-representative surveys (2000 and 2005), and a continuing demographic surveillance system (from 2000 on). Our analysis confirms the large prevalence of nuclear families, but not an unequivocal trend toward their increasing prevalence. First, nuclear families are less prevalent in urban than in rural areas, and nationwide, they appear to have receded slightly between 2000 and 2005. We find that increases in the prevalence of extended households correspond to periods of faster economic growth, and interpret these contrasted trends as signs of tensions during this transitional period in Cambodia. While the nuclear family may still be the cultural norm, a high degree of pragmatism is also evident in the acceptance of other living arrangements, albeit temporary, as required by economic opportunities and housing shortage in urban areas.

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