Types of Household, Family Life Cycle and Poverty in Costa Rica
contribución de congreso
Barquero Barquero, Jorge A.
Trejos Solórzano, Juan Diego
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Over the last ten years, improvement in poverty conditions has stalled in Costa Rica, but there have been significant advances in aspects relating to the demographic transition. Poverty levels are holding around 20% of households below the pov erty line, while mortality indicators have achieved a life expectancy of 78 years and fertility has reached historical replacement levels. This situation is suitable for conceptual and empirical studies to provide information regarding the relationship be tween the phenomenon of poverty and conditions of socio - demographic vulnerability still being felt by a significant proportion of the country’s households. This study is aimed at exploring problems of socio - demographic vulnerability in Costa Rica, startin g with an analysis of the composition and changes in the poorest households by means of two key concepts: Type of Household and Family Life Cycle, which are operationalized in variables based on the information from the Household Surveys of 1987, 1994, and 2002. Household or family typologies (Household Type) refer to the composition of the familial and non - familial arrangements within each household, starting with kinship relations among household members, with regards to a reference person, which general ly is the individual considered head of household. Family Life Cycle refers to the different phases or stages that family arrangements usually go through, from constitution of the initial family nucleus (couple with or without children), passing through different events of change according to the growth of the initial group and the ages of its members, until the nucleus is dissolved or dispersed into new nuclei and family arrangements. Both concepts are related to demographic and socio - cultural patterns, such as marriage, fertility, mortality, survival strategies, cultural practices regarding sharing a dwelling or co - habitation, material living conditions and the socio - economic levels of the household or family members. The hypothesis applied here, which is essentially exploratory, is that the type of household and the family life cycle phase can also be seen as an expression of the conditions of socio - demographic vulnerability, which worsen in households below the poverty line. This vulnerability exposes the households and their members to greater risks of social exclusion and facilitates intergenerational reproduction of poverty. After this introduction, the paper consists of a first section, which delineates the evolution of poverty in Costa Rica and the main characteristics of the poor. The following section provides the major conceptual and methodological orientations that guided this research; the fourth section describes all the households with regards to the two study variables Household Lifecycle (HLC) and Household Type (HT). The fifth section delves into the major findings on poverty according to the HLC and the characteristics of the component members; finally, the principal study conclusions are summarized.
- Economía