Postmarital Living Arrangements in Historically Patrilocal Settings: Integrating Household Fission and Migration Perspectives

This study integrates theory and research on household fission (or partition) and migration to better understand living arrangements following marriage, especially in historically patrilocal and primarily agricultural settings. Using panel data from the Chitwan Valley Family Study to analyze the sequential decision-making process that influences men's living arrangements subsequent to first marriage, we demonstrate the importance of distinguishing among extended family living, temporary migration, and the establishment of an independent household. We find that community economic characteristics, such as access to markets or employment, as well as household wealth affect the initial decision to leave the natal home. Household resources and use of farmland, along with the young men's own education, media exposure, travel, and marital behavior, influence the decision to make the departure from the natal home permanent. Our findings explain why previous results regarding household fission and those focused on migration have provided such mixed results, and we establish a new framework for thinking about how families and individuals manage living situations.