Volume 38 - Article 44 | Pages 1339–1358

Measuring extended families over time in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya: Retention and data consistency in a two-round survey

By Sangeetha Madhavan, Donatien Beguy, Shelley Clark

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:29 Jun 2017
Date published:17 Apr 2018
Word count:5882
Keywords:children's kinship networks, Kenya, kinship, longitudinal analysis
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2018.38.44
 

Abstract

Background: Researchers have increasingly turned to longitudinal data to understand how the family environment of children changes over time and how this change affects their well-being. While the value of such efforts is clear, the inherent challenges of collecting robust data over time may limit or bias our understanding of family complexity.

Objective: Drawing on data from an exploratory study on kinship structure and support for low income single mothers and their young children in Nairobi, Kenya, this paper aims to (1) assess the strengths and weaknesses of our approach in reflecting the complexities of kinship dynamics and (2) analyze how methodological issues such as selection and reporting inconsistency can influence our understanding of the role of kin in children’s lives.

Methods: The analysis used data from two waves of the Kinship Support Tree (KST) project. The starting sample consisted of 462 single mothers with at least one child under the age of 7, with data collected on approximately 5,000 resident and nonresident kin. Descriptive statistics and conventional tests of significance were used to analyze selection factors and inconsistencies in reporting across waves.

Results: The study yielded a 91% retention rate after six months and the analysis provides some assurance that selectivity from attrition and reporting inconsistency are not entirely driven by shifts in support provision by kin. However, the selectivity of the sample underscores caution in generalizing the results.

Conclusions: While the challenges of conducting follow-up surveys such as the KST are serious, these findings suggest that it is possible to collect consistent data on kinship structure and support from the perspective of children in a mobile population. Tracking kinship structure over time using the KST is not only feasible but more importantly is unlikely to lead to incomplete or biased understanding of kinship.

Contribution: After further testing with a wider range of women, we hope to disseminate our results for use in a wide range of contexts both in and out of Africa. We believe this data is vital to designing appropriate interventions to improve the well-being of children growing up in these communities.

Author's Affiliation

Sangeetha Madhavan - University of Maryland, United States of America [Email]
Donatien Beguy - United Nations Human Settlements (UN Habitat), Kenya [Email]
Shelley Clark - McGill University, Canada [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Household structure vs. composition: Understanding gendered effects on educational progress in rural South Africa
Volume 37 - Article 59

» Impact of conjugal separation on women’s income in Canada: Does the type of union matter?
Volume 35 - Article 50

» Pragmatic tradition or romantic aspiration? The causes of impulsive marriage and early divorce among women in rural Malawi
Volume 35 - Article 3

» Human capital on the move: Education as a determinant of internal migration in selected INDEPTH surveillance populations in Africa
Volume 34 - Article 30

» Working with teams of "insiders": Qualitative approaches to data collection in the Global South
Volume 32 - Article 12

» Transitions to adulthood in urban Kenya: A focus on adolescent migrants
Volume 28 - Article 37

» Circular migration patterns and determinants in Nairobi slum settlements
Volume 23 - Article 20

» Extra-marital sexual partnerships and male friendships in rural Malawi
Volume 22 - Article 1

» The impact of female employment on fertility in Dakar (Senegal) and Lomé (Togo)
Volume 20 - Article 7

» The implications of long term community involvement for the production and circulation of population knowledge
Volume 17 - Article 13

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Division of domestic labour and lowest-low fertility in South Korea
Volume 37 - Article 24    | Keywords: longitudinal analysis

» Setting the census household into its urban context: Visualizations from 19th-century Montreal
Volume 36 - Article 46    | Keywords: kinship

» Orphan status, school attendance, and relationship to household head in Nigeria
Volume 36 - Article 22    | Keywords: kinship

» Ideation and intention to use contraceptives in Kenya and Nigeria
Volume 33 - Article 8    | Keywords: Kenya

» Transitions to adulthood in urban Kenya: A focus on adolescent migrants
Volume 28 - Article 37    | Keywords: Kenya