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Modified on 2015/05/26 09:29 by Sean Zheng Paths: Read in Order Categorized as Chapter 2 - Population, households and families
Table II.25

From gender issues to gender statistics on living arrangements: illustrative examples


Policy-relevant questions Data needed Sources of data
Are families of lone mothers with children more frequent than families of lone fathers with children? Do these types of families live by themselves or in a household with other persons? Family nuclei by type of nuclei and type of household. Population censuses.
Household surveys.
Are older women more likely than older men to live alone in one-person households? Are older women more likely than older men to live with their children? Population by sex, age and types of household. Population censuses.
Household surveys.
Are skipped-generation households (households with children and grandparents but no parents) more often formed with a grandmother only or with a grandfather only? Detailed types of household. Population censuses.
Household surveys.
Are older women more likely than older men to live in institutions? Older persons (persons aged 60+) living in institutions by sex. Population censuses.
Surveys on people living in institutions.

  • + Gender issues
    • Living arrangements for women and men are changing (United Nations, 2000, 2005). Young women and men attend more years of schooling, enter the job market later in life and delay marrying and having children. In some countries, these changes may extend the time that young people are living with their parents. Family models are also changing. Many young women and men choose to live in cohabiting unions. Women and men of reproductive age are more often than in the past among the never married, separated or divorced and tend to be more often lone parents with children. In particular, lone mothers with young children are more frequent and more likely to be poor than lone fathers with young children (United Nations, 2010a). Older persons are increasingly found in independent living arrangements, either as couples or as persons living alone, without the economic support or company of their children (United Nations, 2005). These tendencies have been observed mostly in the more developed regions, but lately in the less developed regions as well (United Nations, 2005).

      Living arrangements of older persons are different for women than for men (United Nations, 2005). Women tend to live longer than men and are less likely to remarry after divorce or after their spouse dies. As a result, in countries in the more developed regions, where the proportion of older persons in independent living arrangements is large, older women tend to live alone more often than older men (United Nations, 2005). This situation places older women in greater need of outside assistance in the event of illness or disability, increasing their likelihood of institutionalization. Older women living alone are also at greater risk of poverty (United Nations, 2010a). By comparison, men’s chances of being unmarried at older ages are smaller than women’s and they therefore have a lower probability of living alone. However, when they are unmarried, older men are more likely than unmarried older women to live alone (United Nations, 2005).

      In the less developed regions, a large majority of older persons live with their children (United Nations, 2005). Still, older women are predominant among older persons living alone (United Nations, 2005). Older women are also more likely to live in skipped-generation households (United Nations, 2005). These types of households comprise grandparents and grandchildren without the middle generation. They are becoming more common in countries that have been heavily impacted by AIDS and in communities with a high level of temporary migration for work. Both one-person households of older persons and skipped-generation households tend to be economically disadvantaged, unless the household economy benefits from remittances (United Nations, 2005, 2010a).

  • + Data needed
    • Data needed to analyse living arrangements from a gender perspective are:

      (a) Young persons (persons aged 15 to 29) by sex, age, detailed marital status and type of household. The types of household considered should be constructed on the basis of the size of the household and the family relationship between the young persons and other household members;

      (b) Family nuclei of lone parents with young children (children under the age of 15) by sex of the parent and type of household. At least three types of household should be considered for disaggregation: nuclear households of a lone parent with young children; extended households of a lone parent with young children living with other relatives; and composite households of a lone parent with young children living with non-relatives and with or without relatives. These types of household can be identified on the basis of individual characteristics such as sex, age, marital status and family relationships for all household members;

      (c) Older persons (persons aged 60+ and persons aged 80+) by sex, marital status and type of household. At least several types of households should be considered for disaggregation: one-person households; nuclear households where an older person lives with his or her spouse; nuclear households where an older person lives with his or her children and with or without his or her spouse; extended households where an older person lives with his or her children and other relatives and with or without his or her spouse; extended households where an older person lives without his or her children but with his or her grandchildren and with or without his or her spouse; and composite households where an older person lives with other relatives and non-relatives and with or without his or her spouse. These types of household can be identified on the basis of individual characteristics such as sex, age, marital status and family relationships for all household members;

      (d) Older persons (persons aged 60+ and persons aged 80+) living in institutions by sex and marital status.

      Additional breakdowns should be considered for statistics on living arrangements, such as urban/rural areas, geographical areas, ethnicity, migration status and wealth status of the household.


  • + Sources of data
    • Population censuses are used to collect data on sex, age and marital status for all household members and on the family relationships among them. Population censuses may also provide sex- and age-disaggregated data on people living in institutions.

      Household surveys can be used to collect data on sex, age and detailed marital status for all household members and on the family relationships among them. It is important that the household surveys used are large enough to allow for a disaggregation of data by various characteristics, including detailed types of household, as discussed in the part on data needed above.

      Surveys on people living in institutions can be used to collect data on population living in institutions, such as nursing homes or residential facilities for people with disabilities.

  • + Conceptual and measurement issues
    • National statistical offices are usually able to produce data on types of household both from population censuses and from household surveys. However, the classifications that are routinely used will usually need to be adjusted for the purpose of identifying certain types of living arrangements that are most relevant from a gender perspective, as discussed in the part on data needed above.

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