Household formation, living alone, and not getting married in South Africa

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Show simple item record Thornton, Amy 2023-04-21T08:21:17Z 2023-04-21T08:21:17Z 2023-04
dc.identifier.citation Thornton, A. (2023). Household formation, living alone, and not getting married in South Africa. Cape Town: Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town. (SALDRU Working Paper Number 295)
dc.description.abstract In South Africa, households were formed at about twice the rate that the population grew between 1995-2011, and the count of single-person households mushroomed by 150%. Women became more likely to head households and men more likely to live alone over this period. Economic conditions in post-apartheid South Africa have been challenging; unemployment and poverty are high and income inequality is extreme. The question of why South Africans would form more and smaller households under these conditions is a provoking one. This paper seeks to understand the influence of long-term decline in marital rates in South Africa on the household formation process. Reweighted household survey data covering 1995-2011 is used to set up a model of household headship and living alone that includes an interaction of marital and labour market status. This is decomposed over time using an Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition. An acceleration in the rate at which never-married people form households emerges as an important driver of household proliferation (versus there simply being more never-married people). This paper fills a gap in the South African econometric literature on household formation pertaining to our understanding of the role of marital status. Most econometric research on household formation for South Africa focuses on employment and omits marital status even as a control. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Saldru Working Papers;295
dc.subject Household Formation en_US
dc.subject Living alone en_US
dc.subject Marriage en_US
dc.title Household formation, living alone, and not getting married in South Africa en_US
dc.type Working Paper en_US

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