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    Dominicana On Line - El Portal de la República Dominicana


    The Dominican Republic is not an exception regarding the family in the context of the social transformation that has enveloped Latin America on the path to modern society.  In this Caribbean country that has experienced an economic growth for many decades, motivated by an opening of its borders and an increase in social mobility, the ideal family seems ever more idyllic.

    In urban areas, for example, 31% of homes have a single woman as head of household.  In rural areas, according to ENDESA 2002, woman lead in 22% of homes.  In the Distrito Nacional, which concentrates almost one million inhabitants, the proportion of female heads of household reached 33%.  The same study indicates that, of the total habitual members of the homes interviewed, a few more than 50% are men and 65% reside in urban areas (66% of the female population and 63% of the male population live in urban areas).

    The study offers other points of view on the Dominican family in the last 15 years.  While in 1991, the average size of the homes was of 4.6 people, in 2002, the average fell to 3.9.  The reason?  The poll analysts postulate that there could be various factors affecting the decreasing tendency, recorded beginning decades ago, “among them the slow decrease in fertility, emigration abroad and, in general, the effect of the composition of the home on social processes like urbanization and the increase of the difficulty of subsistence in wide population segments.”  These factors include a great incidence of divorce and separation, the reduction of the use of domestic workers and the presence of other people, relatives or not, in the homes.
    The data allow a different reading.  The typical nuclear family, composed of father, mother and children, is not the most common in the Dominican Republic.  A study of the Instituto de Estudios de Población y Desarrollo, affiliate of PROFAMILIA, established the fact that, already in 1991, only 42% of the homes of the country were bi-parental and nuclear, that is, with the presence of both spouses.

    The work of Isis Duarte and Ramón Tejada Holguín, which analyzed the subject of Dominican homes with the figures available until 1991, established that the interaction with other cultures supplied by tourism, the spatial relocation stimulated by the duty-free zones and the level of specialization demanded of the work force by the globalization process of the economy influence the values and conduct of the youngest members of the family, in migrations and in the investment in the education of sons and daughters.  However, they highlighted the impossibility, still to this day, of establishing the extent to which those processes have influenced the Dominican family, due to the lack of fundamental information on the subject.
    Another profile of the family is the marital status of its members.  To 2002, according to the cited study, a society has seen a significant increase in women in consensual unions between 1996 and 2002 (from 36% to 43%), as well as a consequent decrease in those married, a trend that has affected all age groups.  Analysts understand that the situation confirms the tendency of previous polls in the sense that there are ever more consensual unions and fewer formal marriages and single women.

    Table 1. Composition of Dominican homes
    Percentage of homes with a female head of household and percentage distribution by number of regular residents and the average size, by area of residence, Dominican Republic 2002.

    See tables (PDF) >>


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