Demography and economy in a rural community
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This paper is a report of on-going research which examines the demography and the economy of a Kuria location and draws out the relationship between the two. It represents the first step of a detailed ethnographic study of the cultural expressions of social and economic differentiation whose twofold objective is to l) demonstrate the factors and processes of differentiation, and 2) to examine how unequal situations are reproduced and legitimated through key institutions, ideologies, and cultural typifications providing the framework by which people explain and understand their situation and the events of their lives. An examination of the demographic structure shows an increasingly young population made up of mainly children. This is both a result of the cumulative effects of high population growth and of the increasing practice of polygamy and omoka mona marriage. These factors also contribute to the high incidence of homesteads without male heads, and a very high ratio of dependents to productive members. For analytical purposes, the sample homesteads have been divided according to the stage within the development cycle that they have reached, and this information has been used to set up a comparison with their economic standing. In investigating the economy, we see that though agriculture remains the main source of cash income, off-farm income from occupations and jobs is of key importance to the economy. We also see that the homesteads in the latest stages of development depend mostly on farming. The reverse is true when it comes to occupational and business income. Having the highest income, both per homestead and per capita are the homes within the penultimate stage of development, which rely both on agricultural and off-farm sources of income.