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Female Headship, Marital Status and Material Well-Being

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The potentially conflicting observations that members of female-headed households in Latin America tend to be especially poorly off but that one does not need to live in a female-headed household to face utter poverty can be reconciled in part by considering household structure in terms of female headship and marital status. We illustrate this point using a microfile of the 1985 Colombia census of housing and population, focussing on mothers aged 15-59. While headship effects the material well-being of single, separated/divorced, and widowed mothers, mothers in a consensual union tend to be badly off materially even when they do not head their own household. Considering mothers outside consensual unions, formally married non-head mothers tend to be materially better off than non-married head mothers but not as well off as non-married non-head mothers. A country-wide analysis is refined by examining subregions, the idea being to investigate the issue in areas with potentially different marriage structures.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, U.S.A.

10.1163/002071598X00125
/content/journals/10.1163/002071598x00125
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/content/journals/10.1163/002071598x00125
1998-01-01
2016-12-07

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