Household composition

Chapter 4 Household composition and family formationIn the 1960’s, large households were more commonly found in Aruba when compared to present times. At present, nearly 7 out of 10 households consist of 3 persons or less. Two out of 10 households are one-person households.

Types of households

Households can be divided into collective households, homeless households and non-collective households. Collective households consist of more than ten persons who have no family relation to each other. Examples are persons living in homes for the elderly, orphanages and prisons. A homeless household is a household without shelter. Persons belonging to these households carry their possessions with them and live and sleep on the street or in any other ad hoc housing situation. Non-collective households are all other types of households. There are four types of non-collective households: One person households, nuclear households, extended households and composite households. One person households consist of one person living by himself or herself. Nuclear households consist of a single conjugal family nucleus, such as a married couple with children. Extended households consist of persons related to each other living together in the same household but not forming a single nuclear family, such as a married couple with children living in the same household as the parents of one of the spouses. Composite households, on the other hand, consist of persons living together who are not all related to each other, such as a married couple with children living in the same household as a live-in maid. In this documentary, we will focus on these non-collective households. There are four types of nuclear households, couples without children, couples with children, a mother living with her children, and a father living with his children.

Changes in household composition

Over the past decades, household composition patterns have changed from the traditional nuclear family of husband, wife and children living in one household toward more single parent families, less married couples with children and a rise in the number of persons living together out of wedlock. Persons living together without being married to each other form consensual family nuclei. Between 1981 and 2010 a considerable growth was observed in the number of these consensual family nuclei. While in 1981, 1,664 persons lived together as a couple without being married to each other, in 2010, this number increased by a factor of five to a total of 8,926 persons. In 2010, 21.4% of couples with children lived together in a consensual union, up from 11.6% in 1991.