Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences
Volume 16, No. 1, 2018
DOI: 10.36108/ijss/8102.61.0150

Single and Cohabiting Parent Family Systems: The New ‘Normal’ Family Structures?
Olusola Ayandele1 and Olugbenga Popoola2

1,Department of General Studies, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria
2American Trinity University, Porto Novo, Benin Republic


Single-parenthood and cohabitation are becoming ‘trendy’ family structures in many African societies. Guided by the structural functionalism approach, types of family structures and the influence of globalisation on the African family structure were discussed. Secondary data from Demographic Health Surveys conducted in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda, as well as World Family Map and various studies from sub-Saharan African countries were also used to examine the prevalence of the married-couple, cohabiting-couple, and single-parent family structures, and the findings presented descriptively. Results show that single-parenthood is most common in South Africa and married-couple family structure is popular in Nigeria and Ghana whereas marriage, single-parenthood, and cohabitation recorded a comparable level of popularity in Uganda. In the study, it was discovered that cohabitation and single-parenthood have lost some stigma in many African societies and are becoming common and socially acceptable, especially among educated citizens and in Christian dominated countries on the continent. Society, governmental and non-governmental agencies, education and religious institutions, as well as clinical and social services, should be attuned to the currently diverse new ‘normal’ family systems.
Keywords: Single-parents, cohabitation, married couple, globalisation, African family


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