The logic of Cape Verdean female-headed households: social response to economic scarcity

T. J. Finan, H. K. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


As a result of both climatic and historic factors, male out-migration has had a strong tradition on the islands, and the sex ratio is sharply imbalanced in favor of women. This paper focuses on a specific type of female-headed household found on the principal Cape Verdean island of Santiago. The single-mother household, is the poorest of all rural household types as measured by the subsistance indicators of rural society. Moreover, the formation of a single-mother household incurs social stigma and strong religious sanction. Yet, the incidence of this household is high. We argue that the persistence of this social institution is ultimately related to the lack of economic activities outside of subsistence agriculture. Once a life in subsistence agriculture is accepted, access to resources is facilitated through family formation. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-103
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Urban Studies

Cite this