Family demography in sub-saharan Africa: A systematic review of family research

Clifford O Odimegwu, Nicole De Wet, Sunday A Adedini, Nompumelelo Nzimande, Sathiyasusuman Appunni, Tanyaradzwa Dube


Background Families in Africa have been undergoing changes recently. The objective of the study was to review published literature on the types, determinants and consequences of family changes in Africa and highlight research gaps in the area.

Methods Sixty-nine journals from 1976 to date that were downloaded from databases such as Pub Med, JStor, Google Scholar and Science Direct, and were systematically reviewed.

Results There is family transition 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.

Conclusion Families in Africa are responding to socio-economic and other changes that are happening around them. Family research is still under studied in Africa. There is need for more mixed method studies that explain the quantitative findings.


Africa, Family transition, Systematic review, Family research

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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