Determinants of household size: a case study of Eastern Uganda
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The study investigated the determinants of household size in Eastern Uganda. Secondary data from the Uganda National Household Survey (2005/2006) provided by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) was used. A total sample of 1922 households in both urban and rural areas of Eastern Uganda was used in the study and their prevailing demographic; socioeconomic; housing and welfare conditions were assessed to establish the significant determinants of household size. The analysis was mainly based on the study questions indicated in the questionnaire attached to the report as an appendix. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS version 10 and the Pearson chi square test and logistic regression model used as analytical tools. The study found out that age, marital status, education level of household head, employment status, dwelling unit and the number of rooms in a dwelling unit, were associated with and significantly determined household size in Eastern Uganda. It was found out that compared to small households, a bigger percentage of respondents from big households were in the 35-44 age interval (31.9% compared to 17.4%). Therefore, it was concluded at this stage that most of the respondents were in their median ages and also, at older ages (75+) more respondents lived in small rather than big households. Household size and age of respondent came outstanding of all other variables and it was clearly confirmed that in age interval 25-34, household members stood higher chances of belonging to small households. It was also found out that unmarried household members were more likely to live in small household sizes than in big households. Most respondents in polygamous marriages belonged to big households. This was related to the number of household members as a result of the many children from different wives. The study, also, revealed that as the level of education of the household head improved, for instance from primary to secondary and beyond, more household heads were found with small household sizes. This was attributed to the knowledge and awareness about the advantages of small household sizes gained from schooling and general enlightenment. Analysis of housing conditions like type of dwelling unit, tenure status and number of rooms revealed that more respondents from big households lived in complete houses unlike the huts or tenement for small households, implying that a big household owned rather than rented, and used more than six rooms. This was basically related to the big number of occupants that made it economical and convenient to use a bigger space compared to small households. It was found out that more members from big households used firewood for cooking compared to those in small households who used charcoal with a very small number using electricity and gas. Having more big households especially in rural areas may imply more usage of firewood, clearing of bushes and forests and possibly more environment degradation It was also concluded that a household member’s marital status especially the head of household is more likely to determine the size of the household; Most likely to result into a big household if the head is in a polygamous marriage than when he is in a monogamous or never married. The following recommendations are suggested; Adult and continuing education that incorporates family planning information should be given top priority by the government and other actors to encourage smaller household sizes in Eastern region, the creation of employment opportunities through prioritization of agriculture sector since this is the source of employment for many and provision of convenient loans and financial assistance to enable heads of households establish themselves in the informal sector. The government should try to fight all the barriers that exist in the informal sector, which deter household participation. These include insecurity, high taxes, bribery. Markets should be opened up and the government should organize the population and help in acquiring market for the produced goods through mobilizing them into cooperatives. A big number of respondents reportedly indicated farming as the major source of earning. Any move towards the promotion of and mordernisation of agriculture would result into more employment opportunities especially for the big number of respondents from big households and this may result into increased household incomes.